California governor pardons 3 convicted immigrants to help block deportations

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday he’s pardoning three immigrants who’ve been convicted of crimes as part of an effort to protect them from deportation to their home countries.

The three men — originally from El Salvador, Iran and Cambodia — broke the law as teens or young adults, served their sentences and have taken steps to rehabilitate themselves, the governor’s office said.

But Newsom’s pardons do not completely shield the men from deportation. The move instead erases the mens’ criminal records to prevent past offenses from being considered in their deportation cases. All three men live in Los Angeles County and were brought to the U.S. legally as children, the governor’s office said.

“The Governor regards clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can incentivize accountability and rehabilitation, increase public safety by removing counterproductive barriers to successful reentry, and correct unjust results in the legal system,” a news release said.

The governor, a Democrat, pardoned 38-year old Victor Ayala, who in 2001 at age 21 was convicted of felony robbery and sentenced to probation for pushing a security guard while shoplifting from an electronics store, The Sacramento Bee reported. He also had four prior misdemeanor convictions for theft and a hit-and-run in which no one suffered injuries, Los Angeles’ KTLA-TV reported. – READ MORE

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