HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — There is new hope for a dad facing deportation to a country where he's never lived.
CBSLA's Jeff Nguyen talked with the family of Phann Pheach, who was pardoned by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.
"It's like someone was trying to do CPR for so long and I finally had a chance to breathe again," Sopeant Chuop said about her husband's pardon.
The move led to a Twitter tiff in which President Trump taunted the governor by calling him "Jerry 'Moonbeam' Brown."
Pheach's elderly mother is grateful to Brown because her son has been at risk of being deported to Cambodia where his family escaped the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge.
They came to the United States as refugees when Pheach was 1.
In 2005 he served a six-month sentence for a drug sale conviction, which caused him to lose his Green Card.
And last October he was picked up by immigration officers.
"How can you punish someone who has shown more than the ability to reform? He has had a stable job since 2010," said Chuop.
But for conservative blogger and Trump supporter Arthur Schaper that's not enough.
"It's a blessing to be in this country and if you're only a permanent resident it can be forfeited. That's established in our laws," said Schaper.
Chuop has been keeping pictures of her husband away from their three-year old son because they're painful reminders dad is being held in Texas.
The governor's pardon doesn't automatically stop the deportation proceedings. But the documents are giving this family a fighting chance.
"This right here is almost a dream come true," said Chuop. "And I'm that much closer to waking up."
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