New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pardoned 18 illegal aliens slated for deportation Wednesday while he issued his pardons for the holiday season.
“While the federal government continues to target immigrants and threatens to tear families apart with deportation, these actions take a critical step toward a more just, more fair, and more compassionate New York,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Lorena Borjas, 57, is one of the illegal aliens Cuomo pardoned. Borjas, who is a biological male who lives as a female, had been convicted of criminal facilitation in 1994. Cuomo’s office said Borjas has become an advocate for transgenders and immigrants.
The Governor’s Office said the pardons for those in danger of being deported should act as a bridge to legal status, although they stressed there is no guarantee the pardoned would gain legal status.
The New York governor has had a history of pardoning and commuting the sentences of controversial figures. He commuted the sentence of radical terrorist Judith Clark in 2016.
Cuomo also pardoned 39 people convicted of misdemeanors when they were under 18 years old who have not re-offended in the past ten years or more and commuted the sentences of two people.
“These New Yorkers have proved their rehabilitation, in some cases for decades, but have been unable to gain legal status or fully re-enter society due to the stigma of conviction,” Cuomo said.