US President Donald Trump has blasted California Governor Jerry Brown over pardons for immigrants.US President Donald Trump has blasted California Governor Jerry Brown for his pardon of five ex-convicts facing deportation, including two who fled the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia with their families four decades ago.
In a tweet on Saturday, Trump referred to Brown as “Moonbeam”, referencing a nickname a newspaper columnist coined for him in the 1970s.
Trump then listed the ex-convicts’ crimes before they were pardoned on Friday. They include misdemeanour domestic violence, drug possession, and kidnapping and robbery.
Trump wrote: “Is this really what the great people of California want?”
In a news release about the pardons on Friday, the governor’s office said that “those granted pardons all completed their sentences years ago and the majority were convicted of drug-related or other non-violent crimes.
“Pardons are not granted unless they are earned,” the governor’s office said.
Brown’s pardons marked the third time the Democrat has intervened on behalf of immigrants who were deported or faced deportation over convictions. Brown has accused the Trump administration of “basically going to war” with California over immigration policy.
Brown’s pardons don’t automatically stop deportation proceedings but eliminate the convictions on which authorities base their deportation.
Trump has been criticised for his own pardon, that of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted last year of a misdemeanour contempt charge for flouting the courts in carrying out his signature immigration patrols.
Trump’s pardon spared Arpaio from a possible jail sentence. The 85-year-old longtime lawman announced a run for the Senate in January.
Those pardoned on Friday by Brown included Sokha Chhan and Phann Pheach, who face deportation to Cambodia, a country ruled in the 1970s by the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Chhan was convicted of two counts of misdemeanour domestic violence in 2002 and served about a year in jail.
Pheach was convicted of possessing drugs and obstructing a police officer in 2005 and served six months in jail. His wife said he is in federal custody.
Also pardoned was Daniel Maher, who served five years in prison stemming from the 1994 armed robbery of a San Jose auto parts store. He was convicted of kidnapping, robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the case.
Maher is facing deportation to China, where he has never lived. Maher is from Macau, which became part of China after his family immigrated to California when he was three.
Also pardoned while facing deportation were Daniel Mena and Francisco Acevedo Alaniz. Mena served three years of probation after being convicted of possessing illegal drugs in 2003. Alaniz served five months in prison for a 1997 car theft conviction.