Trump Slams California Governor for Pardoning Convicts Facing Deportation

President Donald Trump excoriated the Governor of California on Saturday, March 31, for pardoning five convicts facing deportation.

“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Is this really what the great people of California want?”

Brown earned the “Moonbeam” nickname when he was governor in 1975 and floated ideas for a California space academy and launching a satellite for emergency communications.

Brown issued 56 pardons and 14 commutations ahead of Easter, which lands on Sunday. Among them were the five ex-convicts Trump referenced.

Governor Jerry Brown in Sacramento, California on Jan. 25, 2018. (Hector Amezcua/Reuters)

The pardons have a significant impact on deportation proceedings because federal authorities use prior convictions as the basis for deportation.

One of the convicts was Daniel Maher, who was brought to the United States from Macau illegally as a 3-year-old, received a green card, but never applied for citizenship, the Sacramento Bee reported. Maher lost his green card after he was convicted of kidnapping, robbery, and using a firearm in 1995.

Two of the convicts were originally from Cambodia and fled to the United States from the Khmer Rouge.

Sokha Chhan was convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and threatening a crime. He served three years probation and one year in jail after his sentencing in 2002. Phann Pheach is also facing deportation to Cambodia for possessing drugs with the intent to sell and obstructing a police officer. He was convicted in 2005 and served 6 months in prison and 13 months on parole.

Francisco Acevedo Alaniz and Sergio Mena were also pardoned, but it is unclear to which country they are facing deportation. Alaniz was convicted of vehicle theft in 1997 and served 5 months in prison and 13 months on parole. Mena was convicted in 2003 for drug possession and served three years probation.

The Trump administration has repeatedly clashed with California over its sanctuary policies. The Justice Department sued the state in early March, arguing that its sanctuary laws are unconstitutional. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Trump visited California and declared the state “out of control.”

On Saturday, Trump also singled out California in his weekly address, saying that 40 percent of heroin is trafficked through the sanctuary state.

“Sanctuary Cities release thousands of dangerous criminal aliens into our communities – including drug traffickers, drug dealers and vicious gang members,” Trump said.

Brown has issued a record number of executive clemencies in modern California history, handing down 1,115 pardons and 51 commutations of sentences since returning to office in 2011.

 

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