Criminal Aliens in N.Y. May Be Pardoned by Gov. Paterson

Worth Readingby Jim Kouri

In a move to shield criminally convicted immigrants from deportation, the governor of New York has created a special pardon panel to forgive individuals of state crimes that under federal law require expulsion from the U.S., according to a report from the public-interest group Judicial Watch.

Governor David Paterson is suffering from dismal poll numbers as low as 29 percent favorability. Critics claim he's trying to duplicate a move by President Bill Clinton when he pardoned Puerto Rican terrorists who perpetrated bombings and killings in New York in order to help his wife, Hillary, in her race for New York's U.S. Senate seat.

Paterson claims that he created the first-of-its kind initiative because federal immigration laws, particularly those involving deportation, are “extremely inflexible” and he simply wanted to “soften the blow” for deserving individuals caught in their “web.” He failed to mention that the aliens incarcerated are not inmates because of their immigration status, but because they committed crimes such as robbery, assault, burglary, and drug trafficking.

Paterson's five-member state panel, which has ignited a hostile confrontation with federal law enforcement officials, will assist the governor in reviewing the pardon applications of convicted immigrants in the Empire State who are facing extraction from the U.S. Individuals who have shown “extensive efforts towards rehabilitation” will likely get pardoned, Paterson said at a press conference announcing his plan this week.

"These are the kinds of programs you get when a Democrat Party hack achieves power. Instead of caring about the victims of these criminals, Gov. Paterson is concerned that these convicts will be kicked out the country. He doesn't care about the recidivism statistics," said former New York detective Mike Snopes.

Not all violent criminals will be forgiven, the Democrat governor assures New Yorkers and Americans. The panel will only recommend pardons for individuals who have “contributed as New Yorkers.” He claims this will help preserve the wealth of good that immigrants have provided the state and will stand as a symbol of justice and humanity that captures the spirit of New York, according to Judicial Watch.

Under federal laws passed in 1996, and signed by President Bill Clinton, immigrants -- even those living in the U.S. legally -- are subject to mandatory deportation after criminal convictions, including misdemeanor drug possession. In most cases they are classified as state crimes and only a governor’s pardon can intercept deportation even if the convict is married to a U.S. citizen or has American-born children.

Paterson was inspired by the fact that, in many cases, the individual's rehabilitation efforts, years of living in the community without any legal trouble and their positive contributions to society are not considered before deportation. Now his new state panel will consider all those factors before allowing the feds to deport a convict.