Updated Date: August 22, 2022
Section 237(a)(2)(A)(vi) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides that a noncitizen will not be deportable for certain criminal convictions “if [the noncitizen] . . . has been granted a full and unconditional pardon by the President of the United States or by the Governor of any of the several States.” Similarly, 8 C.F.R. § 316.10(c)(2) recognizes that, under certain circumstances, a full and unconditional executive pardon may ameliorate the effect of a criminal conviction for purposes of establishing good moral character for naturalization. The question has arisen whether, under the applicable law and process currently in place in the State of Connecticut, a full and unconditional pardon granted by the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles should be recognized as waiving deportability, based on a Connecticut conviction, under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(i) - (iv), pursuant to the INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(vi) pardon waiver clause. The question has also arisen whether such a pardon as described above nullifies the immigration consequences of a qualifying Connecticut conviction under 8 C.F.R. § 316.10(c)(2).
As of March 23, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security accepts full and unconditional pardons specifically issued upon review of a single individual’s request to the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles as executive pardons for purposes of INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(vi), the pardon waiver clause, and 8 C.F.R. § 316.10(c)(2). However, a noncitizen may still be removable or lack good moral character for reasons unrelated to a pardoned conviction. In addition, like any pardon from any other State, a full and unconditional pardon granted by the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles has no impact on any ground of deportability not listed in INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(vi) or any ground of inadmissibility under INA § 212(a), and it does not preclude consideration of the facts underlying the original conviction in the exercise of discretion.