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Press Releases

Attorney General William Tong

12/09/2019

WAYZARO WALTON WILL REMAIN IN THE UNITED STATES -- BOARD OF IMMIGRATION APPEALS AFFIRMS THAT CONNECTICUT PARDONS COUNT

Attorney General William Tong Personally Argued Case Before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, filed Amicus Brief with Board of Immigration Appeals

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and Governor Ned Lamont issued statements today after the Board of Immigration Appeals terminated Wayzaro Walton's removal proceedings – allowing her to remain in the United States – and affirmed the validity of Connecticut's pardon process.

"Connecticut pardons count. This is a tremendous victory for Wayzaro Walton and for the entire state of Connecticut. I thank the BIA for this just and well-reasoned decision. I am overjoyed for Taz, Tamika and their daughter, who have endured unimaginable stress and trauma. Now we must work to ensure the BIA's affirmation of Connecticut's pardon process is applied to all relevant cases," said Attorney General Tong.

“Today’s ruling is a win for every resident of Connecticut,” said Governor Ned Lamont, who has been advocating on Walton’s behalf since March. “A pardon granted in the State of Connecticut is no different than a pardon issued in any other state, and any attempt by a federal agency to ignore that would have created an unjust reality for every person who lives in Connecticut. I applaud the BIA for their fair and just implementation of the law."

"Today is a final and wonderful victory for Wayzaro Walton after seven years of hard fought legal challenges to her removal order. Ms. Walton will now be able to regain her permanent resident status that she has fought for since 2012 and can live her life here in Connecticut with her wife and daughter. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support of the Governor's Office and the Attorney General's office through this fight. This victory would not be possible without the support and efforts of Attorney General Tong and his office," said Erin O'Neil-Baker, attorney for Wayzaro Walton.

On October 18, Attorney General Tong filed an amicus brief with the Board of Immigration Appeals on behalf of Wayzaro Walton. The BIA decision states they "find convincing the opinion of the Connecticut Attorney General that the respondent's convictions have been expunged pursuant to a full and unconditional pardon, and that, under Connecticut law, her pardon should be credited as an executive pardon."

On September 3, Attorney General Tong personally defended the legitimacy of Connecticut's pardon process before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Walton v. Barr. On July 22, Attorney General Tong also personally argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in a similar matter, Thompson v. Barr.

Attorney General Tong has also sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut seeking a declaratory judgment protecting the legitimacy of Connecticut's pardons.

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong
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Elizabeth Benton
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