United States governor pardons two Cambodian refugees

Angelo Anderson
December 27, 2017

California Governor Jerry Brown issued over 130 pardons over the weekend, including two to felons who were set for deportation. Brown used the state's approach to federal immigration authorities in combination with faith in the ability for these men to redeem themselves as validation for why he chose to grant these acts of mercy to the two individuals. According to the online application, pardons are reserved for those individuals that have completed their sentence, and then received a court-issued certificate of rehabilitation for living crime-free in California for over a decade.

Federal officials have targeted immigrants with felony convictions that resulted in the loss of their legal residency status, according to Fox News, including some who are nonviolent offenders. Numerous offenders have incidents that were nonviolent and occurred many years ago.


The two men have both been convicted of felonies in the past and should have already been deported had immigration policies been enforced. Among those pardoned were Mony Neth and Rottanak Kong, both Cambodian men who were picked up during October immigration sweeps, according to The Sacramento Bee. Multiple media reports have indicated that this particular roundup focused on immigrants of Cambodian and Vietnamese descent.

With the pardons, the reason for applicants' deportations may be eliminated, said attorney Kevin Lo of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, which represented some of the men in a recent class-action lawsuit. Neth was convicted in 1995 on a felony weapons charge and Kong was convicted in 2003 of felony joyriding, according to the paper. Inmates have the opportunity to request a modification or elimination of their sentence, which is dependent upon their behavior while incarcerated along with other factors.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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