California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday pardoned five ex-convicts facing deportation, including two whose families fled the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia four decades ago. The pardons don't automatically stop deportation proceedings, but they eliminate the state convictions federal authorities based their deportation decisions on. That gives gives the men's lawyers strong legal arguments before immigration judges to try to prevent the deportations, per the AP. Those pardoned Friday included Sokha Chhan and Phann Pheach, both of whom face deportation to Cambodia, a country ruled in the 1970s by the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Chhan was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in 2002 and served 364 days in jail. Pheach was convicted of possessing drugs and obstructing a police officer in 2005 and served six months in jail.
The moves caught the attention of President Trump, who faulted "Moonbeam” Brown on Twitter for pardoning "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?" Brown's intervention for the men—among 56 pardoned—marked the Democratic governor's third consecutive pardon round in which he intervened on behalf of immigrants who were deported or faced deportation because of criminal convictions. Brown has accused the administration of President Trump of "basically going to war" with California over immigration policy. (The White House and California are going to war over another issue, too: car emissions.)
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