Governor Lamont to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary: ‘Failure by ICE to Acknowledge the Pardoning Authority of Connecticut Creates an Unfair and Unjust Result for the Citizens of Our State’
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont has 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.
The governor was prompted to contact Secretary Nielsen due to the detention earlier this week and planned deportation of a Connecticut mother by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials that is based on a conviction for two nonviolent offenses, the most recent having occurred more than seven years ago. The mother, who came to Connecticut as a small child, has lived here legally for most of her life, is married to a U.S. citizen, and has a U.S. citizen minor child.
Although she was granted full pardons of those convictions by the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles prior to her detainment, ICE is refusing to recognize them simply because they are granted by a board appointed by the governor, rather than being granted by the governor directly. There is no other significant distinction between the absolute and unconditional pardons granted by Connecticut and those granted by other states.
“An individual granted a pardon by the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles – just like an individual granted a pardon in another state – is no longer considered by law to have been convicted or otherwise adjudicated guilty of the pardoned crime,” Governor Lamont wrote. “Failure by ICE to acknowledge the pardoning authority of the State of Connecticut creates an unfair and unjust result for the citizens of our state.
“We urge you to give Connecticut pardons the respect they are due, and Connecticut individuals who have been pardoned – including Ms. Walton, her U.S. citizen family, and others who may be adversely affected by this policy – the opportunity to continue to contribute positively to our community.”