Cuomo pardons dozens facing deportation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted clemency to 29 individuals - many of whom faced the risk of deportation.

The Democratic governor pardoned 22 people and commuted the sentences of seven others on Monday, the final day of the year.

Many of those receiving a pardon were facing the possibility of deportation because of their criminal record. Cuomo says New York must stand up for its immigrant families as Republican President Donald Trump works to keep immigrants from coming to the U.S.

Cuomo's office says all of those receiving pardons have demonstrated their rehabilitation and have gone without committing any additional crimes. Officials say the seven individuals set to be released from prison have all turned their lives around by pursuing an education and working to help fellow inmates.

Here is the list that was supplied by the governor's office.

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. Mr. 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 U.S. from the Dominican Republic. He has remained crime-free for 31 years. Mr. 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.

Laith Altaee, 47, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1997 in Monroe County. Mr. Altaee is from Iraq and lives in Rochester with his wife and two children. A pardon will help him avoid the risk of deportation due to his conviction, which he committed 21 years ago and has not been arrested since.

Socrates Brito, 42, was convicted of Criminal Sale of Marjuana 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 5 as a Legal Permanent Resident. Mr. 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.

John Ghedini, 67, was convicted of Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Second Degree in 1982 in Manhattan. Mr. Ghedini was born in Mexico to Italian parents and came to the United States at the age of 9. He recently retired from working nearly thirty years for the same New York company. A pardon will allow him to file for an adjusted immigration status, and stay in the country that he has lived in for nearly sixty years. He has lived a crime-free life for the past 36 years.

Boaz Bag-Bag, 53, was convicted of Trademark Counterfeiting in the Second Degree in Queens County, for which he was required to pay a fine and not sentenced to any incarceration. He has not committed any crimes in the past 10 years since his counterfeiting conviction. Mr. Bag-Bag did not have any prior convictions. He was born in Israel and is the CEO of a company employing over 6,000 drivers in New York City. A pardon would help defend him against the risk of removal proceedings.

Dimas Acosta Ramirez, 64, was convicted of Robbery in the Third Degree in 1976, Petit Larceny in 1992 and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1997, in Manhattan, Westchester, and the Bronx, respectively. Mr. Ramirez has been crime-free and sober for 21 years. He was born in Colombia and actively faces deportation, despite living here for 46 years. Mr. Ramirez is a volunteer pastor who provides child care for his grandchildren, and is the father of four children, three of whom served in the U.S. Armed Forces. He has maintained a crime-free lifestyle for 21 years.

Ricardo Bernabeu, 59, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1986 in Monroe County. An immigrant from Cuba, he now works as a mechanic in Florida, where he and his wife are raising their children. He has remained crime free for 32 years. A pardon will help defend him against the risk of removal proceedings.

Wojciech Lesniak, 36, was convicted of Resisting Arrest and Attempted Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree in Queens County in 2006. Mr.Lesniak has completed residential treatment for alcohol and drug use and currently works as the house manager for a sober house and a driver for a residential addiction treatment program. He has maintained a crime-free and sober lifestyle for the 12 years since his conviction. A pardon will allow him to reapply for his green card and pursue naturalization.

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. Ms. Ferguson was born in Jamaica and is an active member of her church. She has remained crime-free for 27 years. A pardon will minimize 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 church goer 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. Mr. 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 misdemeanors 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 8. Mr. Viviecais the father of three U.S. 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.

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. Mr. Antigua is the father of two American children, helps run his community softball team, and takes care of his elderly mother. Mr. Vidal Antigua has not committed a crime for 12 years.

Doris Yeara Hutchinson, 74, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in the Bronx in 2002. Ms. Hutchinson is a retired grandmother who was born in the Dominican Republic to a U.S. 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 honor roll, and currently volunteers full-time at a nursing home. She has remained crime-free for five years.

Rachel Lewis, 50, was convicted of several low level drug crimes and Criminal Mischief in the 1990s in the Bronx. She was born in the United Kingdom and came to the United States at the age of 2. Her mother and children are all U.S. citizens. Ms. Lewis works as a drug treatment counselor for formerly incarcerated people in New York City. A pardon will enable her to renew her green card and continue her employment. Ms. Lewis has remained crime-free for 13 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.

Jorge Luna Torres, 44, was convicted of Attempted Arson in the Third Degree in 1999, for setting an acquaintance's car on fire as an act of mischief. He has not committed a crime in nearly 20 years. Mr. Torres entered the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident at the age of 9. He received his B.A. in Math and has tutored students in this subject area. A pardon will help Mr. Torres fight his order of removal from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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 Mr. Elliot to apply for citizenship. He has maintained a crime-free lifestyle for 10 years.

Marvin Hernandez, 34, was convicted of Attempted Arson in the Third Degree for setting fire to a box of trash in 2006 in Westchester when he was 21 years old. There were no injuries, and Mr. Hernandez has remained crime-free for the 12 years since. He came to the United States at age 3 from El Salvador to join his parents. A pardon will help him avoid deportation to El Salvador, where he has no family and fears gang violence.

Reginald Castel, 45, was convicted of Assault in the First Degree in 1999, almost 20 years ago in Rochester. Mr. Castel was born in Haiti and came to the United States at the age of 8. He is married with four children and was deported without notice in September 2017. A pardon will allow Mr. Castel to apply for reentry to the United States and reunite with his family. He has remained crime free for 19 years.

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