After a week full of outrage about the Arizona Immigration law, we are happy to report about an opposite spirit coming all the way from the state of New York.
Gov. David Paterson stepped into the immigration debate Monday, saying he would create the nation’s first “pardon panel” to investigate requests of legal immigrants facing deportation because of past convictions.
Paterson, proposing the measure as the nation is embroiled in conflict over an Arizona law that critics say would encourage racial profiling, said he would pardon immigrants if they meet requirements including rehabilitation and demonstrate they’re not a danger to society.
Paterson is seeking to combat what he calls harsh and rigid federal measures that result in deporting of immigrants who have shown considerable rehabilitation. Arizona’s measure makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally.
Paterson said he will seek to use a governor’s pardon as a tool to blunt what he called the rigid federal rules for deportation even of immigrants who have successfully engaged in a new life in America. In March, Paterson pardoned Quing Wu, an executive and Chinese immigrant who as a teenager was convicted of a smuggling.
We hope more states will follow this trend, and focus on the real effort – Immigration reform now.
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