While his decision doesn’t halt deportation proceedings, it removes the offense that prompted the decision to deport them. Newsom’s office justified the decision as a way to help the pardoned — many of whom were convicted before 2000 — avoid “collateral consequences” of their convictions.

“By granting these pardons to people who are transforming their lives,” a news release read, “the Governor is seeking to remove barriers to employment and public service, restore civic rights and responsibilities and prevent unjust collateral consequences of conviction.”

Among the pardoned were two Cambodian refugees who came to the U.S. with families who were fleeing genocide in their home country.