Monday, Governor Tim Walz announced that the Board of Pardons, which is made up of Governor Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea, voted to grant Minnesota’s first full and absolute pardon in over 35 years to Maria Elizondo.

With this pardon, Ms. Elizondo will be able to apply for cancellation of removal and other immigration relief that her convictions currently prevent her from requesting. Without it, Ms. Elizondo could have been deported to Mexico, separating her from her family and the country she has lived in for more than 40 years. Ms. Elizondo’s son, Jorge Elizondo, a patrol officer in North Dakota and an enlisted member of the North Dakota National Guard who has served three tours, provided powerful testimony in December on his mother’s behalf.

“We cannot deploy this soldier while we deport his mother,” said Governor Walz. “Today I was honored to grant a full and absolute pardon to Ms. Elizondo.”

"I believe that when we can act to make our system of justice more just and compassionate, we should do so. I was proud to support this pardon,” said Attorney General Keith Ellison. “All Minnesotans will benefit from Ms. Elizondo’s second chance and opportunity to better her community and our state."

The Board of Pardons first considered Ms. Elizondo’s pardon application at its regularly scheduled meeting on December 15, 2020. At that meeting, the Board agreed to convene a special meeting to vote on Ms. Elizondo’s pardon application if she repaid the full restitution and fees owed from her conviction. A crowdfunding effort launched by University of St. Thomas School of Law students led by Professor Mark Osler successfully assisted Ms. Elizondo and her family in repaying her restitution.

Read more about the Board of Pardons here: https://mn.gov/doc/about/pardon-board/

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