Caribbean immigrants among those granted clemency by NY Governor
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Five Jamaicans, a Trinidadian, one Haitian and six nationals from the Dominican Republic were among those granted pardons on Monday by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Cuomo granted clemency to 29 immigrants who, he said, have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to community crime reduction.
In a statement, the Governor's office said he issued pardons to the following individuals in recognition of their rehabilitative efforts and to remove the barriers that their criminal records present to their immigration status.
"Some are facing deportation, while others wish to be able to participate in their communities as citizens of the country they call home. In each case, a pardon will make immigration-related relief possible, if not automatic," the statement said.
The move is seen as a direct blow to the anti-immigrant policies of President Donald Trump.
“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,” said Cuomo.
"These actions will help keep immigrant families together and take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York."
The Caribbean immigrants granted clemency are:
Olive Ferguson, 75, was convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in the Bronx in 1991. She has been crime-free ever since. Ferguson was born in Jamaica and is an active member of her church. She has remained crime-free for 27 years. A pardon will minimise her risk of deportation.
Anthony Khan, 66, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree in 1980 when he accompanied an acquaintance to sell a controlled substance and was arrested as part of a sting operation in the Bronx. He was born in Trinidad and came to the United States in 1971. He is an active churchgoer and a husband and father, who has worked with the Taxi and Limousine Commission for 35 years. He has remained crime-free for 37 years.
Rohan Hylton, 47, was convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1992 and Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree in 2001 and 2003 all in Queens County. Hylton is from Jamaica and came to the United States over 30 years ago with his family to escape political persecution. As a father and dedicated family man, he now lives and works in Queens. A pardon will allow him to apply for discretionary relief from his deportation order. He has not been convicted of any misdemeanours or felonies for 12 years.
Ramon Vivieca, 40, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third and Seventh Degrees in 1999 in Manhattan. He was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States at the age of eight. Viviecais the father of three US citizen children and is the sole financial provider for his family. He works as an art handler in New York City, and has remained crime-free for 20 years
Doris Yeara Hutchinson, 74, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in the Bronx in 2002. Hutchinson is a retired grandmother who was born in the Dominican Republic to a US citizen father but who has not been able to receive citizenship herself. She has remained crime-free for 11 years.
Kerrone Kay-Marie Parks, 33, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree in Queens in 2013. She was born in Jamaica, is a domestic violence survivor, a mother of three children on the honour roll, and currently volunteers full-time at a nursing home. She has remained crime-free for five years.
Jeremy Grant, 58, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 2005 when an individual in a group he was a member of sold drugs to an undercover cop and the entire group was convicted in Manhattan. He immigrated from Jamaica and has been in prolonged removal proceedings since 2006. He has remained crime-free for 13 years. A pardon would remove the barriers to apply for a green card renewal and prevent him from being deported and losing his access to necessary medical treatment.
Trevor Elliot, 67, was convicted of Criminal Sale and Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree in the early nineties in Westchester. He was born in Jamaica and has worked at a nonprofit that provides social services for youth and as an elder care provider. A pardon would allow Elliot to apply for citizenship. He has maintained a crime-free lifestyle for 10 years.
Manuel Vidal Antigua, 38, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree in Queens in 2007 for selling a small amount of a controlled substance to make money for his mother's medical expenses. He was born in the Dominican Republic and currently faces an order of removal. Antigua is the father of two American children, helps run his community softball team, and takes care of his elderly mother. Vidal Antigua has not committed a crime for 12 years.
Reginald Castel, 45, was convicted of Assault in the First Degree in 1999, almost 20 years ago in Rochester. Castel was born in Haiti and came to the United States at the age of eight. He is married with four children and was deported without notice in September 2017. A pardon will allow Castel to apply for reentry to the United States and reunite with his family. He has remained crime free for 19 years.
Siriaco Concepcion Santana, 67, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree in 1997 and Criminal Possession of a Narcotic in the Fourth Degree in 1998 in Manhattan. He has maintained sobriety and remained crime-free in the 20 years since his convictions, and become devoutly religious. Santana is from the Dominican Republic and is currently facing removal proceedings. A pardon will help him continue to provide for his family and receive necessary medical care.
Gil Guillen, 52, was convicted of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1987 in Bronx. He started his own business in South Carolina and lives there with his wife and daughter, ever since immigrating to the US from the Dominican Republic. He has remained crime-free for 31 years. Guillen also has volunteered much of his time to rebuilding South Carolina homes wrecked in recent hurricanes. He will use a pardon to pursue citizenship.
Socrates Brito, 42, was convicted of Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree in 1996 when he was 20 years old in Manhattan. He came to the United States from the Dominican Republic at the age of five as a Legal Permanent Resident. Brito is an active volunteer in his community and has remained crime free for 22 years. A pardon will help him avoid the risk of deportation due to his conviction.