North Carolina’s Governor Jerry Brown recently granted pardons to two Cambodian immigrant refugees living in the state. They had been on the verge of being deported from the USA and sent back to Cambodia due to old criminal convictions. The convictions, which were far from recent, became a factor to deport the two due to President Donald Trump’s latest, ruthless crackdown on immigrants. The Governor, who felt that the men had paid for their crimes, announced that he was pardoning the two individuals, Rottanak Kong is from Davis and Mony Neth is from Modesto. He said that the two had atoned for their crimes long ago and were now living honest and clean lives in the US.
Immigration is the sole responsibility of the federal government, and the state government usually has no jurisdiction or say in that particular matter. However, the Governor’s reasoning for granting the pardon has the two Cambodians’ attorney hoping for a repeal of the deportation order from the federal government. The governor’s pardon is a beacon of hope for many immigrants in the USA, who now know that there are people on their side, too.
This Governor’s pardon has many immigration attorneys across the country hoping that they can obtain similar pardons for their own clients, to either prevent them from being given a deportation order or in some cases, even to let them be allowed to return to the US. The administration under former President Barack Obama had made convicted criminal immigrants their targets, but the Donald Trump administration has generalized the category of immigrants a bit further, focusing on not only the convicted felons, but also those charged with crimes, but not convicted of them.
However, the success of the Governor’s pardon for the two Cambodian immigrants has given hope to other immigrants, too.