Haitian man, deported over assault charge, granted a pardon from governor

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Governor Cuomo has pardoned the Haitian man who was deported in 2017 from Rochester over a decade-old assault charge.

Last year, supporters of Reginald Castel came forward saying he had turned his life around since the conviction, but despite support from the community, Castel was deported to Haiti in September of 2017.

Before his deportation, Castel had lived in Rochester for years and his family remained here after he was removed.

Monday, Castel was included in a group of 29 people granted clemency by the governor — all 29 are facing or faced deportation due to their crimes, but have since reformed.

“While President Trump shuts down the federal government over his obsession with keeping immigrants out, New York stands strong in our support for immigrant communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “These actions will help keep immigrant families together and take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.”

An attorney told News 8 in 2017 that if clemency was granted for Castel, he would be allowed to return to Rochester.

Also pardoned on Monday:

  • Laith Altaee, 47, was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1997 in Monroe County. Mr. Altaee is from Iraq and lives in Rochester with his wife and two children. A pardon will help him avoid the risk of deportation due to his conviction, which he committed 21 years ago and has not been arrested since.
  • Ricardo Bernabeu, 59, was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1986 in Monroe County. An immigrant from Cuba, he now works as a mechanic in Florida, where he and his wife are raising their children. He has remained crime free for 32 years. A pardon will help defend him against the risk of removal proceedings.

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