The pardons don’t automatically stop deportation proceedings, but eliminate the state convictions federal authorities based their deportation decisions on. That gives the men’s lawyers strong legal arguments before immigration judges to try to prevent the deportations.

“The pardon does provide enormous benefit to immigrants facing deportation,” said Anoop Prasad, an immigration staff attorney at Asian Law Caucus.

Brown’s intervention for the men — among 56 pardoned — marked the Democratic governor’s third consecutive pardon round in which he intervened on behalf of immigrants who were deported or faced deportation because of criminal convictions. Brown has accused the administration of President Donald Trump of “basically going to war” with California over immigration policy.