Monday, May 2, 2011

Immigrant Rights Group Calls on New York Governor to Extend Pardon Panel

According to Democracy Now, immigrant rights advocates are calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to formalize and expand an immigration pardon panel established last year under former Governor David Paterson.

The panel was designed to allow immigrants the opportunity to defend themselves from being deported. Since major changes in immigration laws in 1996, millions of immigrants have been deported for minor crimes and crimes they were already punished for. Mizue Aizeki heads the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

Power of the Governor or the Governor's Boards and Commissions (the Governor's of all other States have the same authority with the exception of the State of Georgia):
  • A pardon from the State of New York can prevent deportation or permit reentry to the sovereign State of New York or the United States.
  • People who wish to service in the New York State Defense Forces (cannot be federalized), the New York National Guard, or any branch of the United States armed forces must have a pardon from the State of New York.
  • A pardon is also required from the State of New York for people who wish to travel to foreign countries. 

    According to

    Mizue Aizeki, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights: “You’re funneling people into a system where they have no way to get out. It’s a mandatory deportation. And this is a system that needs to be examined very critically, and so we’re calling on Governor Cuomo to institute this pardon panel that would allow at least many immigrants a second chance to be like, 'Look, this is my life. I’ve rehabilitated. Would you please give me another chance?' And I think it’s important to remind people that this is basically a premise of our society: that you should not be punished doubly for something that you’ve already done your time.”

    Andrew Cuomo assumed the office of Governor at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2011, succeeding David Paterson. Governor David Paterson granted over 20 pardons before leaving office to prevent deportation alone.

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