Log Angeles – Sokha Chhan was relieved when he learned that he was granted a pardon from then-California Gov. Jerry Brown last year.
He had come to the United States from Cambodia as a war refugee about four decades ago, but faced possible deportation to the country that he barely remembered after being convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant and threatening a crime in 2002, for which he served about a year in prison. He was happy to know he would be able to stay with his community in Northern California.
“Even though it’s my birth country, it’s like going back to a foreign country with no family or friends,” Chhan, 50, told NBC News. “That’s why I’m happy I get to stay here with my children and my family.”