The Clinton years saw profound changes in the rules affecting aliens in this country. A New York immigration lawyer, Stanley Mailman, summed up pithily the effect of the statute that made most of the changes, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

“The law sets us back 100 years in its disrespect for due process,” Mailman wrote. “It is pitiless in barring relief to those who have transgressed the law even in minor ways. Decades of reasonable court decisions have been overturned. Worse than the individual hardship is the sacrifice of the system of adjudication that we depend on for fairness.”

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