Los Angeles Times

Hoping to get around federal law, immigrants seek governors' pardons to block deportation

The two Cambodian refugees living in Northern California had been convicted of crimes years ago and, under the Trump administration's more aggressive immigration enforcement policies, those offenses had placed them on a path toward deportation.

But Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the pardons of both men - Mony Neth of Modesto and Rottanak Kong of Davis - saying they had paid their debts to society and now lived honest and upright lives.

Immigration is a federal, not state, responsibility, but attorneys for the men hope the pardons will eliminate the rationale for deporting them. Across the country, immigration attorneys are doing the same: seeking gubernatorial pardons in last-ditch attempts to forestall deportations or allow the deported to return to the U.S.

Targeting convicted criminals for deportation isn't a new idea; it

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