Comment: Stanley Mailman - In Memoriam

Immigration Daily notes with sadness the passing of Stanley Mailman at the age of 86 in New York City. Mr. Mailman was one of the most influential fugures in the immigration bar in the past half century. Please find below some thoughts of Ted Chiappari, Stanley's partner in the last firm he was with; Austin Fragomen, who is well positioned to comment on Stanley's impact on the field; Greg Siskind, a prolific author in the field; and Stephen Yale-Loehr, who was the co-author with Stanley of the immigration treatise.

Stanley Mailman: A Remembrance By Stephen Yale-Loehr

Stanley Mailman, a prominent immigration lawyer and past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), passed away in his New York City home on December 3 surrounded by his family. He was 86.

Stanley received both his B.A. and J.D. from Cornell University and his LL.M. in international law from New York University. He served on the boards of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), the American Foreign Law Association, and the International Rescue Committee. He received numerous AILA awards, including the Edith Lowenstein Award for excellence in immigration law and the Elmer Fried Award for scholarship.

Stanley was a coauthor of Immigration Law and Procedure, the leading 21-volume immigration law treatise, for 25 years. He wrote a regular immigration law column for the New York Law Journal for 30 years.

Stanley was born in New York City in 1930. His parents had immigrated to the United States at the end of the Great War from what was then Russia. His dad Nathan was a skilled furrier. His mother Helen was an enterprising milliner and business owner.

Stanley began practicing immigration law under the tutelage of Elmer Fried, one of the early experts in the emerging field. Stanley would go on to become a pioneer and scholar of immigration and asylum law. Small in stature, Stanley was a giant in immigration law.

Stanley mainly practiced business immigration law, most recently at Satterlee, Stephens, Burke & Burke, but was also a strong advocate for the civil rights of immigrants. Three examples follow.

First, in 1980, during the Haitian refugee crisis, Stanley joined other lawyers to successfully advocate for imprisoned refugees being denied proper representation and fair hearings. In Bertrand v. Sava, 684 F.2d 204 (2d Cir. 1981), he and others successfully argued that federal courts could hear habeas corpus claims to review allegations that immigration officials abused their discretion in denying parole to detained Haitians. Ira Kurzban, who worked on some of the Haitian cases with Stanley, remembers him as a soft-spoken hero and a wonderful, thoughtful, careful lawyer. Allan Wernick, another lawyer who also worked on the Haitian cases, remembers Stanley telling him that even though AILA attorneys were working on behalf of Haitian detainees pro bono, "we should treat them the same as paying clients."

Second, in Tibke v. INS, 335 F.2d 42 (2d Cir. 1964), Stanley successfully argued that the immigration agency interpreted the adjustment of status provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act too narrowly for a lawful permanent resident who sought a discretionary waiver of inadmissibility in deportation proceedings.

Third, in Stokes v. INS, 393 F. Supp. 24 (S.D.N.Y 1975), Stanley filed an amicus brief in a case successfully challenging the constitutionality of certain marriage-related green card procedures used by the New York City immigration office. The case ultimately ended in a consent decree requiring the immigration agency to follow certain interview procedures in marriage-related green card cases.

I knew Stanley for over 30 years, but really got to know him once I joined him as coauthor of the Immigration Law and Procedure treatise and the New York Law Journal immigration law column. Stanley was warm, kind, and a mentor to me and many others.

Stanley was a witty and active writer. His columns for the New York Law Journal would include lines like "hoary immigration interpretations" and immigration rules that were "fitfully honored in the observance and the breach." If he thought the immigration agency was wrong, he would say so, and explain why in clear and simple language.

Personally, Stanley was known for his unflappable ethics, and believed in the truth in all aspects of personal and professional life. He held himself to the highest standards, yet was non-judgmental in his relationships.

Stanley met his wife Mary Ann in 1963. They were married four months later by a justice of the court in Lower Manhattan. They lived on the Upper West Side for 47 years, where they raised their two sons.

Stanley was a frequent jogger on the Central Park reservoir, an accomplished golfer, and a lover of apples. He was a dedicated family man, proud grandfather, and loving uncle to 14 nieces and nephews.

Always ready for a new challenge, Stanley took up the piano late in life. He shared a piano teacher with his adored granddaughter Lydia, who would come over to her grandparents' apartment for lessons. Many times, when I called Stanley for our weekly chats about the latest immigration developments, I could hear the piano in the background as his wife Mary Ann called Stanley to the phone.

Stanley is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary Ann, sons Joshua and Alex, daughter-in-law Danielle and granddaughter Lydia, and his brother Philip.

Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Tuesday December 6 at Plaza Jewish Community Chapel. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the immigration section of Sanctuary for Families ( or to Cornell University Law School ( for its immigration and asylum programs.

-- Stephen Yale-Loehr

I had the privilege of working with Stanley for the first 17 years of my career, and continued to enjoy his wit and wisdom even after his retirement in 2009. He played such an important role in my formation and development as a lawyer, it's hard to express in just a few lines. As role model, mentor and teacher, he has motivated and inspired me throughout my career.

-- Ted J. Chiappari

I will always remember Stanley as an a cornerstone in the development of the practice of immigration law. He brought the intellectual rigor of the treatise to a field that was in the formative stage of migration from an array of policy memoranda, guidance materials, unreported administrative decisions and mostly ad hoc adjudications to a legitimate legal practice area. He was always a gentleman and a distinguished representative of the immigration bar.

-- Austin Fragomen

I only met Stanley briefly once, but his work certainly influenced me. Many years ago, I was a young, solo immigration lawyer practicing in a city with only a handful of other practitioners. This was in the time before online message boards and web sites and Stanley's treatise was an important lifeline for me as I learned how to be an immigration lawyer in isolation. When I was seeking out a publisher for my first immigration law book, I sought out Stanley's publisher because the treatise was so influential in my practice. Mr. Mailman was a giant in the field who helped generations of immigration lawyers and he will be sorely missed.

-- Greg Siskind

We invite readers to share their remembrances of Stanley Mailman by writing to us at

Article: Stanley Mailman: A Remembrance By Stephen Yale-Loehr

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