New York Gov. David Paterson has decided to join the many politicians and celebrities who are lobbying against the Arizona Immigration law by proposing new bill that could allow immigrants to stay.
Monday (May 3), Gov. Paterson announced that he would create the nation’s first “pardon panel” to investigate requests of legal immigrants facing deportation because of past convictions.
“To be sure, there are some individuals whose crimes are egregious or who pose a threat to public safety. And they are justly removed from the United States,” Paterson said. “But there are others for whom the situation is far less clear. For them, our national immigration laws leave no room to consider mitigating circumstances. But in New York, we believe in rehabilitation. And we believe in renewal. And we believe in second chances.”
Paterson’s proposed measure would allow the government to pardon immigrants if they meet requirements; including completing rehabilitation despite prior convictions if they demonstrate they’re not a danger to society.
The new bill comes after the controversial Arizona law that allows police and law enforcement to request documentation of a suspected illegal immigrant.
Under Arizona’s strict new law, it is a criminal offense under state law to enter into the country illegally. It also directs local police to question people about their immigration status and demand to see their documents if there is reason to suspect they are in the U.S. illegally. With the federal government’s failure to secure the border, Arizona has become a major gateway for drug smuggling and human trafficking from Mexico.
Although many have protested the new measure, citing that the law now allows legal racial profiling, Arizona lawmakers are not backing down.
To help appease the outcry, Paterson is attempting to make a way to help immigrants stay in the land of the free, but he states that even under his new measure just a handful of cases at this point qualify for a pardon, according to his team, they expect more people to come forward after Monday’s announcement.