New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, controversial for his positions on immigration, used his executive authority to help illegal immigrants escape deportation.
On Monday, Cuomo’s office announced the action and listed each of the 29 individuals to whom Cuomo either granted a pardon or commuted their sentence. Each of them was an immigrant who had a criminal record and some faced potential deportation, according to the press release.
The charges included robbery, first-degree assault, attempted arson, counterfeiting, and criminal sale of a controlled substance.
His office promoted the pardons and commutations as a way to “help keep immigrant families together and take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.”
The immigrants, according to Cuomo’s office, “demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to community crime reduction.”
This was just the latest incident in which Cuomo seemed to act in a way that contravened the president’s immigration agenda. Cuomo already issued pardons in August and July and clashed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when he accused the agency of engaging in illegal search tactics in his state.
Cuomo’s announcement came as President Donald Trump pushed for a southern border wall to protect American communities from, among other things, illegal immigrant crime. In a statement, Cuomo portrayed his state as a stalwart against the president’s agenda.
One thing has now been proven. The Democrats do not care about Open Borders and all of the crime and drugs that Open Borders bring!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2019
“While President Trump shuts down the federal government over his obsession with keeping immigrants out, New York stands strong in our support for immigrant communities,” he said.
Trump recently harped on the effects of illegal immigration when he highlighted the death of California police officer Ronil Singh, who was allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant:
There is right now a full scale manhunt going on in California for an illegal immigrant accused of shooting and killing a police officer during a traffic stop. Time to get tough on Border Security. Build the Wall!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 27, 2018
The administration has also blamed the ongoing migrant crisis on an immigration system which incentivizes illegal border crossings. Those incentives likely came from sanctuary policies and actions like Cuomo’s.