SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Vietnamese immigrant facing possible deportation for a 15-year-old gang crime is among seven people pardoned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 7.
Clemency may allow Quoc Nguyen, 37, to avoid deportation, the governor said.
Nguyen, who was brought to the U.S. legally when he was 10, was sentenced to seven years in prison for a 2004 assault with a deadly weapon.
It was his only arrest. Since being released, the Santa Clara County man hasn’t had any other arrests, keeps a stable home and job, supports his elderly mother and is supporting his girlfriend while she completes nursing school, the governor’s office said.
“His deportation would be an unjust collateral consequence that would harm his family and community,’’ the office said.
Pardons do not automatically protect someone from deportation because they don’t erase the criminal convictions on which deportation orders often are based. However, a grant of clemency does emphasize the person’s rehabilitation.
Newsom in May granted clemency to two men from Cambodia facing deportation and former Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned five Cambodian refugees who faced deportation last year.
The pardons by the Democratic governors are a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s administration, which has cracked down on immigrants who committed crimes.
Newsom’s highest profile use of his clemency powers came in March, when he placed a moratorium on executions for the 737 people on California’s death row. His action temporarily halted the death penalty in the state, but did not reduce death sentences.
Newsom also pardoned six other people who had convictions more than 15 years old—all but one of them for low-level drug-related offenses.