NEW YORK – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued pardons to seven individuals facing the threat of deportation and other immigration consequences as a result of previous minor criminal convictions. This is the third time Governor Cuomo has used his pardon authority to protect individuals facing potential deportation, including most recently in December where he issued pardons to 18 other individuals.
“At a time when President Trump and the Federal government are waging a war on our immigrant communities, New York stands firm in our belief that our diversity is our greatest strength,” Cuomo said. “While President Trump engages in policies that rip children out of the arms of their mothers and tries to ramp up the deportation of New Yorkers to advance his political agenda of hate and division, we will protect our immigrant communities. With the Statue of Liberty in our harbor, New York will always stand against the hate coming out of Washington and instead serve as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all.”
Today Cuomo issued pardons to the following individuals:
Tamar Samuda, 35, left the U.S. to travel to Jamaica for family funeral, and upon return was detained by ICE as a result of convictions from 17 years ago. She was released on immigration parole in February 2018, and continues to fight her deportation. Since her convictions for low-level assault and petit larceny, she obtained a GED, and completed medical assistant training, and works in home health care and doctors’ offices. She is a single mother of three school-aged children. Samuda was cleared to work as an aide in New York City public school special education, but immigration detention prevented her from doing so.
Carlos Suarez, 41, is from the Dominican Republic and was told he was ineligible for citizenship as he was about to go to his swearing-in ceremony in September of 2017. Instead of becoming a citizen, he was told to check in with ICE monthly, which he has been doing. He has been crime-free for nine years since a 2009 conviction for petit larceny and has been steadily employed in business analytics.
Frank Barker, 43, is from Barbados and has been crime-free for nine years. He was convicted of criminal possession of stolen property and controlled substances and identity theft from a short term period of criminal activity resulting from drug addiction. He has been sober for eight years and works as a coordinator at an HIV/AIDS supportive housing provider in New York City, is a certified substance abuse counselor and a community advocate in the Bronx. He is the financial provider for his family including his daughter with special needs.
Elpidio Rodriguez, 57, is from the Dominican Republic and has been crime-free for 19 years. He works in housekeeping at New York City hospitals and serves as a caregiver and financial provider for his elderly parents, wife, three adult children and two grandchildren. He was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance and of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Marino Soto, 43, is from Colombia and has been crime-free for 12 years. He owns a software company in Connecticut and volunteers with humanitarian organizations. He was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Ludames De La Cruz, age 53, is from the Dominican Republic, and has been crime-free for 17 years after his conviction for attempted sale of a controlled substance. He worked as a parking lot attendant and in food service until he was injured on the job in 2008 and became disabled. He also has been diagnosed with PTSD from being the victim of several gunpoint robberies. He is now battling cancer and if deported to the Dominican Republic he would have no support there as his siblings and nieces and nephews extended family all live in New York City, where they visit and offer support during his illness.
Jose Rafael Cruz, age 53, is from the Dominican Republic, and has been crime free for seven years following his conviction for criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was in ICE custody for 2 and a half years before being released in October 2017 on bond. Cruz works in the food service industry and supports his ailing father as well as the daughter of his deceased sister.
Since taking office, the Governor has issued 34 pardons, 12 commutations and 140 conditional youth pardons.