New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo pardoned seven illegal aliens with criminal convictions on their records Monday to help them evade deportation by federal immigration officials.

Cuomo pardoned seven illegal aliens convicted of crimes such as drug possession and petit larceny, taking the opportunity to bash President Trump for his “zero-tolerance policy” of cracking down on migrants who come into the U.S. illegally, the New York governor’s office told Fox News.

The Trump administration issued an executive order in 2017 to direct the U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency to remove illegal aliens convicted or accused of criminal offenses.

“At a time when President Trump and the Federal government are waging a war on our immigrant communities, New York stands firm in our belief that our diversity is our greatest strength,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“While President Trump engages in policies that rip children out of the arms of their mothers and tries to ramp up the deportation of New Yorkers to advance his political agenda of hate and division, we will protect our immigrant communities,” Cuomo added.

According to the governor’s office, Cuomo pardoned the following illegal aliens on Monday:

  • Frank Barker, 43, who was convicted of criminal possession of stolen property, identity theft, and controlled substances.
  • Jose Rafael Cruz, 53, who had been convicted of selling a controlled substance.
  • Ludames De La Cruz, 53, who was convicted for attempting to sell a controlled substance.
  • Elpidio Rodriguez, 57, who was convicted of driving while intoxicated and illegally possessing a controlled substance.
  • Tamar Samuda, 35, who had convictions for low-level assault and petit larceny from two decades ago.
  • Marino Soto, 43, who was convicted of illegally possessing a controlled substance.
  • Carlos Suarez, 41, who was convicted for petit larceny.

The pardons come as Cuomo faces a primary challenge from progressive activist and actress Cynthia Nixon in the New York governor’s race. Nixon, who has repeatedly called for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, has put pressure on Cuomo for not doing enough to stop Trump’s efforts to deport illegal migrants.

A campaign spokesperson for Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said Cuomo is using his pardons as a political move to cater to the left wing of his party that would otherwise vote for Nixon.

“Everything Andrew Cuomo does is for his own political benefit, regardless of whether it’s right, wrong or dangerous to the public,” Molinaro spokeswoman Katherine Delgado told Newsday. “In this case, it’s all about trying to out-liberal Cynthia Nixon for the September primary.”

Cuomo has issued pardons to 34 people since he became governor and restored voting rights to 35,000 convicted felons in New York in April. Cuomo’s executive actions allowed 35,000 convicted felons on parole to cast their votes in the state.