Two Cambodians who were convicted of crimes in the United States were pardoned on Saturday by Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, who followed a tradition of giving pardons during the Christmas holidays.
Mony Neth and Kong Rattanak went to the US as children after their families fled the Khmer Rouge regime.
Mr Rattanak was convicted of joyriding in 2003 in Stanisalus Country at age 25 and sentenced to one year in jail. Mr Mony was convicted on a weapons charge and was part of a gang and was also convicted of a misdemeanor of receiving stolen property, according to attorney Kevin Lo, who is with Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the law firm Sidley Asutin LLP.
They were scheduled to be deported on December 20, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit filed by the attorney’s team to delay their departure, he said.
Mr Lo said the class action lawsuit covered both men, but only directly helped with Mr Mony’s case.
Governor Brown’s pardon recognised how much Mr Mony and Mr Rattanak had turned their lives around.
“We are happy that they can spend the holidays reunited with their loved ones,” he said.