It turns out that many individuals who are facing deportation due to having a criminal record are exemplary candidates for executive clemency: law-abiding, tax-paying residents involved with their communities who committed a minor crime years ago. But due to aggressive federal immigration policies, these individuals could be deported, sent far away from their established roots and family ties in the U.S.
The Governor of Illinois has the power to help right these wrongs. He can follow the lead of former Governor David Paterson in New York, who made a special appeal for such pardon applicants. As he said at the time: "Some of our immigration laws, particularly with respect to deportation, are embarrassingly and wrongly inflexible. ... In New York we believe in renewal. In New York, we believe in rehabilitation." In my opinion that's very well put, and I'd like to think that in Illinois we believe the same.