In 1996 Congress severely restricted the discretion of judges and the attorney general to prevent deportation of U.S. residents. As a result, people who have lived in the country legally for decades can be expelled for minor offenses such as selling a $10 bag of marijuana, stealing a $10 video game, or forging a $20 check. Senior Editor Jacob Sullum says two recent Supreme Court show that the immigration consequences of criminal convictions are especially disproportionate in drug cases, where suspicion of foreigners converges with fear of the intoxicants historically linked to them.
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