New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks on Dec. 21, 2017...

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks on Dec. 21, 2017 in Farmingdale. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday pardoned 18 individuals who were facing deportation due to criminal convictions, saying he was in part serving as a counterpoint to the Trump administration’s “targeting of immigrants.”

Cuomo, a Democrat, said the 18 people he pardoned were contributing members of society. A pardon should take away the threat of deportation, he said.

“These New Yorkers have proved their rehabilitation, in some cases for decades, but have been unable to gain legal status or fully reenter society due to the stigma of conviction,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“While the federal government continues to target immigrants and threatens to tear families apart with deportation, these actions take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo has been an outspoken opponent of President Donald Trump’s vow to deport illegal immigrants.

Among the cases Cuomo highlighted was that of Alexander Shilov, 35, an Estonia native who was incarcerated for a string of petty larceny misdemeanors connected to his drug addiction.

Since his release, Shilov has worked as a nurse at a long-term care provider in Brooklyn. He gives talks on addiction at hospital detoxification units and volunteers in New York’s Medical Reserve Corps, according to Cuomo. Shilov is fighting a deportation “order of removal,” Cuomo said.

Fifteen of the individuals pardoned Wednesday were convicted of nonviolent crimes and have lived crime-free for at least a decade, the governor’s statement said.

Cuomo also issued 39 conditional pardons to individuals who were convicted of crimes while 17 years old or younger and now have “proven themselves to be positive, contributing members of their communities.”

Cuomo said the conditional pardons will remove barriers to employment and “community-involvement” opportunities.

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