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Governor Paterson Pardons Six Immigrants at Risk for Deportation


After a clemency process aimed at assisting green card holders at risk of deportation because of past criminal convictions, and a meeting with his pardon panel, Governor David A. Paterson pardoned six out of 1,100 immigrants Monday including a financial administrator from the City University of New York, a New York Criminal Lawyer related.

“Federal immigration laws,” Paterson said, “are often inflexible, arbitrarily applied and excessively harsh, resulting in the deportation of individuals who have paid the price for their crimes and are now making positive contributions to our society. These pardons represent an attempt to achieve fairness and justice.”

New York Criminal Lawyers predict the governor will issue another batch of pardons before his term ends this month.

Dominican immigrant, Mario Benitez, 58, who pleaded guilty to selling controlled substances and served three years in prison, is the administrator who was pardoned. He is the current assistant director of finance for CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center. The panel praised Mr. Benitez’s accomplishments since his release from prison, most notably his rise “to jobs with higher levels of responsibility” as well as his mentoring and community involvement in the Bronx.

Two other notable pardons went to 32-year old Kevin Auyeung, who was convicted of robbery at age 17 and 41-year-old Deborah Salako-Nation who faced larceny and forgery convictions. Both immigrants have shown substantial improvement and are productive members of society, explained a New York Criminal Lawyer.

25-year old Darshini Ramsaran, who was born in Guyana and Trinidad, faced deportation for robbery. Paterson felt deporting Ramsaran would put her life in danger.

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