Deportation is still a reality for undocumented immigrants with a criminal past, even if they have received a commutation or pardon from a governor, according to a reform.com article.
Recently, at least 10 undocumented individuals received a commutation, pardon or medical reprieve from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, but that does not protect them from being removed from the country, according to Matthew Tragesser, writer of the article.
“Even though these individuals may be given relief for their crimes…ICE is within its statutory authority and ultimately determines the deportation status of an illegal alien,” wrote Tragesser.
But the governor’s office describes how it is still operating within its sanctuary state policy.
“[Pardons] remove counterproductive barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction, such as deportation and permanent family separation,” stated the governor’s office in an interview with Forbes, reported the article.
A commutation modifies a sentence, often allowing an inmate to go before the Board of Parole Hearing or a hearing at which parole commissioners determine whether the individual is suitable for release from prison.
However, ICE still reviews individuals’ overall immigration history, including their criminal history, when they are set for removal.
“[ICE does not] exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” said the agency, according to the article. “Anyone in violation of immigration law, in accordance with the INA may still be subject to arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
If governors and local officials are able to remove certain convictions, and especially non-serious ones, from a person’s re-cord, Tragesser notes that the new President Joe Biden administration could freeze deportations, supporting governors and other local officials’ actions.
“[I’m] not sure whether this will spare them [from deportation], but it certainly ought to,” said Director Dale Gieringer of the non-profit Cal NORML, in the same Forbes interview, according to the reform.com article.
Gov Newsom has granted a combined 145 commutations, pardons or medical reprieves since his term in office, according to the article.