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Attorney General William Tong



Department of Homeland Security Refusing to Recognize Connecticut Pardon Process

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Wayzaro Walton who is facing imminent deportation and separation from her family due to misapplication of Connecticut's pardon laws.

"ICE's incorrect and unconstitutional misinterpretation of how Connecticut's statutory scheme interacts with the Pardon Waiver Clause deeply prejudices Connecticut residents like Ms. Walton. It means, in violation of Ms. Walton's Fifth Amendment right to equal protection under law, that Ms. Walton faces immediate deportation and separation from her family – while an identically-situated person just across the state line in New York or Massachusetts, pardoned pursuant to state laws that are no more reliable or procedurally fair than those in Connecticut, would be at liberty to remain in this country," said Attorney General Tong in the brief.

Wayzaro Walton, a British citizen, has been living in the United States since she was four. She is married to a United States citizen and has a young daughter, also a citizen. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is seeking to deport Walton based on a 2006 conviction, despite a full pardon from the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. Because Connecticut delegates pardon power to a board appointed by the Governor, rather than the Governor himself, ICE has refused to recognize this valid pardon.

On March 27, Tong also wrote to the Department of Homeland Security's Hartford Field Office urging that they grant a stay of deportation and release Ms. Walton from detention immediately pending outcome of her appeal.

Also Friday, Governor Ned Lamont delivered a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen asserting that her department must recognize pardons granted in the State of Connecticut just as they would in any other state.

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