California’s progressive Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s free reign-sans-consequences may be close to 50 shades of gray area in the minds of those who follow the law. The state is suffering through decades of whackadoodle liberal and progressive policies, but a recent series of gubernatorial pardons to criminal immigrants, seemingly for the sole purpose of assisting them to avoid deportations, have set the electorate on edge.
At the center of a series of “he’s a good boy” defenses are three men — Victor Ayala, Thear Seam, and Arnou Aghamalian — originally from El Salvador, Cambodia, and Iran.
According to Newsom’s office, the three unrelatedly broke the law as teens or young adults, served their time in the slammer, and are now fabulous members of society.
Regardless of optics, the governor is within his rights. The California Constitution explicitly states, “the Governor, on conditions the Governor deems proper, may grant a reprieve, pardon, and commutation, after sentence …” There are few restrictions – one being convicted of more than one felony – but some are wondering if Newsom is overstepping his authority and abusing his clemency power for ulterior reasons.
And, adding loophole insult to legal injury, the sticky wicket allowing Newsom to run roughshod over his financially and emotionally exhausted constituency with criminal immigration is a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which makes clear that a gubernatorial pardon supersedes an alien’s deportation status.
University of California Los Angeles has a handy cheat sheet for those perhaps cogitating about a pardon from Newsom, citing relief via use of a pardon under federal law:
“The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) makes clear that a gubernatorial pardon may alleviate a noncitizen’s risk of removal by removing certain conviction-based grounds of removal. A pardon may allow noncitizens to reopen an old removal case, to terminate a pending removal case, to become eligible for certain types of relief from removal, and to become eligible to naturalize.”
Yeah, But There’s This …
The State of California’s web page explains how to apply for a pardon. And the law grants Newsom license to pardon every Juan, Dick, and Abdul simply to benefit society in general:
“Incentivize accountability and rehabilitation; increase the safety of the people working and serving sentences in our jails and prisons; increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry; and correct unjust results in the legal system.”
None of these stellar reasons for pardon is remotely applicable to these men. And now, they are protected from deportation; their rights are restored – yes, even to vote — and they may end up casting a ballot for the goofball in the governor’s mansion as a result.
And why wouldn’t the otherwise “deportables” sign up? Newsom has a long and storied history of protecting illegal aliens – criminals – and placing the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the middle class. As San Francisco mayor, Newsom was a pioneer of sanctuary cities; now as governor, he is extending health care benefits to illegal immigrants and granting illegal immigrants permission to serve on State of California government boards and commissions. Oh, and free college if you are illegal? Sign right up to your publicly funded state schools.
Seemingly, the only requirement is that the governor report his pardon decisions to the legislature, explaining why each immigrant pardon was reached – which doesn’t make the beleaguered electorate any more confident of Newsom’s actions.