California Governor Gavin Newsom, who presides over the nation’s leading sanctuary state, decided last week that pardoning three immigrant felons to help shield them from being deported was more important than keeping the citizens of his state secure. One of the recipients of Newsom’s misplaced compassion was 42-year old Arnou Aghamalian from Iran. Aghamalian, a refugee in this country since the age of 15, was convicted at the age of 22 of helping to set fire to a car. The damage he did was most likely not as easily made to disappear as was his criminal record, thanks to Newsom. Then there was Thear Seam from Cambodia, a refugee admitted to the U.S at the age of 4 who managed in his late teens to be convicted of two felonies – second-degree robbery and acting as an accessory after the fact by helping someone evade police arrest. Finally, Newsom pardoned Victor Ayala from El Salvador. Ayala was only 2 years old when he was admitted legally to the U.S. He showed his gratitude by being convicted at the age of 21 for felony robbery after having been previously convicted for misdemeanor theft and hit-and-run. Newsom’s office claimed that the pardons were issued in part to “prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction.” That’s doubletalk for saying the immigrants’ pardons were issued to remove one ground for their possible deportations – serious criminal records.
“They are now trusted employees, husbands, fathers to young children and sons to aging parents,’’ the governor’s office said in justification for the pardon grants. “Their deportation would be an unjust collateral consequence that would harm their families and communities.” In other words, just make their criminal records disappear and all will be fine for these poor souls, who years ago had “made bad decisions and broke the law” but “served their sentences and turned their lives around.”
Newsom does not care about the welfare of the law-abiding residents of Californian communities. If he did, he would not pardon immigrants who committed felonies so that he can wipe their slates clean before a criminal record could be used by federal authorities for deportation purposes. His administration is acting contrary to the interests of Californians and defying federal law by incentivizing more illegal immigrants to seek sanctuary in California, hiding their identities from federal enforcement officers by blocking access for immigration enforcement purposes to the state’s public safety network, the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, not honoring detainer requests, and handing out freebies to illegal aliens like candy..
Evidently, Newsom did not get the message that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson sent him last month in the form of a letter rejecting Newsom’s plea for federal aid in dealing with California’s homelessness problem until California mends its ways. As Secretary Carson pointed out, “Instead of protecting the most vulnerable Americans from the economic impacts of illegal immigration, California has doubled down on sanctuary State and city policies and provided benefits to illegal and inadmissible aliens. These policies strain precious resources and reduce housing options for American citizens, especially the needy and those most likely to become homeless.”
Newsom is doubling down on his policies that have led some to seek his recall. On October 12th, for example, he tweeted that California “is officially banning the use of private, for-profit prisons and immigration detention facilities.” Where is he going to send the detainees – to live on the streets along with the homeless? This is especially concerning, considering the governor tweeted last month that America should “open our doors to all seeking refuge.” And there is, of course, Newsom’s continued advocacy of California’s sanctuary policies for illegal aliens. Ironically, on October 13th he bragged that California was the first state to ban fur products as part of the fight against animal cruelty, while remaining entirely oblivious to the human cruelty of allowing illegal aliens with violent criminal records to live in California communities and threaten the lives of law-abiding residents.
California is turning into a renegade state that seeks to nullify federal law, much as the South attempted to do before the Civil War. President Trump is right in challenging such nullification actions whenever he can.