Think again MN banner wfrasers e andersen and danish wind turbine

Residents with a Green Card and Prior Crime


Major Change in 1996 Immigration Law
Failed to Distinguish Minor from Major Crimes

Until 1988, noncitizens could be deported from the United States only after a hearing before an immigration judge in which the non-citizen could raise one of several bases for canceling their deportation orders. These included the extreme hardship deportation would cause to the noncitizen or to his family members, family ties in the U.S., length of residence in the U.S., service in the armed forces, a history of stable employment, and a probability that the noncitizen would experience persecution if returned to the country of removal.  The order for deportation became final only if the immigration judge found the non-citizen failed to meet any of these bases for cancellation.  The noncitizen could appeal the judge's decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and if the Board didn't reverse the original immigration judge's decision, the citizen could make another appeal to an independent federal court.1

Immigration law followed this pattern until the major changes passed by Congress in 1996.  While the prior law had allowed seven-year lawful permanent residents who committed crimes to seek discretionary relief from deportation from an immigration judge by showing negative factors were outweighed by positive factors, Congress took a wholesale approach and eliminated the hearings altogether in the 1996 immigration law.  Legislators tended to lump all non-citizens convicted of crimes into one category—neglecting the fact that the legislation under consideration would include legal residents with minor offenses and would have a major impact on their US citizen family members.1  Representative Patsy Mink of Hawaii expressed deep concern  that these provisions expand authorization for deportation of aliens without any association with crimes of violence or terrorism.2  Senator Edward Kennedy stated, "It applies to all criminal aliens, regardless of the gravity of their offense .... whether they are murderers or petty shoplifters."3  President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law, but commented, "These provisions eliminate most remedial relief for long-term legal residents....”4


.  "Forced Apart: Families Separated and Immigrants Harmed by United States Deportation Policy."  Human Rights Watch, Volume 19, Number 3 (G), July, 2007.


2. “Conference Report on S. 735, Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” Congressional Record, vol. 142, no. 55, 104th Congress, 2nd Session, page E645, April 18, 1996 (Ms. Mink).

3. Congressional Record, vol. 141, S 7803, 104th Congress, 2nd Session, (Mr. Kennedy).

4. William J. Clinton, “Statement on Signing the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, vol. 32 (April 24, 1996), p. 720.

donate make a difference

facebook banner pictures 6

logo grand consensus

In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.