The California governor announced that he would pardon Mony Neth and Rottanak Kong, who would have been deported on Christmas, on the same day that a damning report from The New York Times revealed that President Donald Trump allegedly made derogatory comments about Haitian and Nigerian immigrants in a closed White House meeting.
The five individuals were among 56 pardons granted by Brown, as well as 14 sentence commutations for current inmates.
The pardoned immigrants are:
Sergio Mena, who was sentenced in 2003 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and served three years probation.
Francisco Acevedo Alaniz, who was convicted for vehicle theft in 1997 and served fives months in prison and 13 months probation.
Daniel Maher, who was sentenced in 1995 for kidnapping, robbery and using a firearm. He served five years in prison and three years on parole.
Phann Pheach, who was convicted in 2005 for possession of a controlled substance for sale and obstructing a police officer. He served six months in prison and 13 months on parole.
Sokha Chhan, who was sentenced in 2002 for inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize. He served three years probation and 364 days in jail.
Governor Brown’s pardons serve as another sign to Trump administration that the state is firmly against the administration’s immigration crackdown.
Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs. Is this really what the great people of California want? @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018
In October, Brown and the California legislature challenged federal immigration law by making California a “sanctuary state.”
Kong and Neth were scheduled to be deported Monday, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order last week in the lawsuit filed by Lo’s team, delaying their departure.
Neth, 42, was unexpectedly released from Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center on Friday, said his wife, Cat Khamvongsa, and is back home with his family – albeit with an ankle monitor.
Lo said the pardon only covers the felony charge against Neth, but federal immigration law doesn’t allow the pardon to remove a possibility of being deported on the firearms count.
Brown has exercised his pardon power substantially more than preceding governors. Since taking office in 2011, he has granted 1,115 pardons and 51 commutations.