A federal appeals court in New York City heard arguments Tuesday centering, in large part, on whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement has the right to deport an immigrant for past crimes, even though she’s been granted a full and unconditional pardon by the state of Connecticut.
The three judge panel repeatedly questioned whether the court has jurisdiction in the case of Wayzaro Walton, a Hartford resident.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said while he understood the importance of that question, he believed the case raises larger questions about the power of ICE to deport someone with a clean record.
"This action by ICE offends Miss Walton’s due process rights, it also offends the state’s equal sovereignty, and also its 10th Amendment rights and those are larger issues that this court ought to preserve," Tong told the court.
The federal government has argued that the courts should not interfere in the case, and Department of Justice Attorney Christopher Buchanan told the court the pardon issue arose too late in the process.
"Literally, it appears about 13 years from her first conviction, about seven years from her second conviction and at the very last hour," he argued.
But the judges asked why that would matter.
Wayzaro Walton came to Connecticut from England when she was four years old and lived as a legal permanent resident. During her teens, she had a string of arrests for shoplifting and conspiracy to commit larceny.
ICE began removal proceedings against her in 2012, and in March she was picked up and detained. One day later, paperwork arrived granting her a full state pardon for her crimes.
She remains in an ICE detention facility in Boston.