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Governor pardons 24 immigrants

Governor David Paterson
Governor David Paterson

By WBFO News

New York, NY – Governor David Paterson issued pardons Friday to 24 immigrants with prior criminal convictions to prevent their deportation.

In a statement Friday, Paterson said his administration has reviewed more than 1,100 pardon applications and found that federal immigration laws are often "excessively harsh and in need of modernization."

Paterson said the 24 people he had pardoned committed offenses in the past but had paid their debt to society and are now making positive contributions to their communities.

"With these pardons, I have selected cases that exemplify the values of New York State and any civilized society: atonement, forgiveness, compassion, and the need to achieve justice, and not simply strict adherence to unjust statutes," Paterson said. "I will not turn my back on New Yorkers who enrich our lives and care for those who suffer."

In May 2010, Paterson created an Immigration Pardon Panel to collect information and help deserving individuals avoid deportation. He said the initiative was designed to counter aspects of federal immigration laws that may result in inflexible and unjust decisions to deport legal immigrants.