Governor Brown has pardoned a youth pastor from Fresno facing possible deportation. His name is Vanna In and has a dark past but he’s owned up to that and is now a pillar in his community.
For 17 years, Vanna In has lived each day with the burden of the unknown. Not knowing if he’d be able to go home with his wife and kids each time he checked in with ICE officers but he can breathe easier now as Governor Brown officially pardoned him.
“I feel like these things don’t happen to guys like myself,” said Vanna In.
For Pastor Vanna In, one letter will change not only his life but his family’s future.
“Vanna in has paid his debt to society and earned full and unconditional pardon,” said In reading the pardon.
Granted by Governor Jerry Brown who was moved by the support of In’s community. For so long, in says he had to prepare to be taken away from his family and sent to Cambodia. The pardon is one step to citizenship.
“Since last Friday I’ve been on cloud nine,” said In.
But In remembers why he faced potential deportation back in the early 90’s. In was a gang member who helped commit a deadly drive by shooting.
“There’s pain and all the adjectives that come with being apart of taking someone’s life,” said In.
Convicted of murder in 1994, In knew he had to change his ways. After being released from prison in 2001, he joined Hope Now for Youth, mentoring young men who wanted out of the gang life. Now In is a minister at North Fresno Church.
“I wanted to come back and lay some roots, be grounded and give back as much as possible because Fresno is a part of me,” said In.
The father of three has been married for 14 years. His family is everything to him. His wife says she would hold her breath every time he checked in with ICE.
“Knowing my husband could be taken away any time and planning for the future has always been like a struggle,” said Sokmarly In.
Now that future is bright, full of hope as In holds his pardon proudly. One letter telling him, change is possible.
“Someone like Governor Jerry Brown just gave us on a new lease of life,” said In.
There’s more work to be done. In will need an immigration lawyer to file motion to reverse the old deportation order and in time he can apply for citizenship.