OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Governor Brown has pardoned five ex-cons including a Hayward man who faced deportation to China. The move now enables attorneys for 44-year-old Daniel Maher to ask an immigration judge to dismiss his case, paving the way for Maher to obtain permanent U.S. residency.
“I really couldn't believe it, it's been a long struggle, a lot of ups and downs,” Maher told KTVU. “It was definitely a pleasant surprise. My family cried tears of joy. I was still in shellshock when I first heard the news.”
In 1995, Maher served five years in prison for armed robbery and attempted kidnapping. Since his release, he’s turned his life around. He runs a recycling program in Berkeley and is married with a son. Governor Brown said Maher had lived an “honest and upright life” since his release from prison almost two decades ago.
Maher moved to the U.S. legally with his parents from Macau when he was 3 years old. His criminal conviction made him subject to deportation. Maher says the Governor’s pardon removes a legal obstacle, in effect, allowing him to stay in the only place he’s ever known as home.
But President Trump took to Twitter to criticize the pardons, saying, “Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs. Is this really what the great people of California want?”
Maher reacted to the president’s Tweet, by saying the president should look into the specifics of his case.
“I know he's looking at it like a poke in the eye to Governor Brown, but if he took the time to do the research, [he would see] this is a long time coming. It's not rash decision, it's been over twenty years.”