Authors Attempt To Block INS Order Against Fellow Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A group of distinguished writers filed suit in federal court Monday in an attempt to keep author Margaret J. Randall from being forced to leave the United States.
The authors - including Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, William Styron, Alice Walker and Kurt Vonnegut - said the Immigration and Naturalization Service has denied permanent resident status to the 48-year-old author because of her writings and her views on U.S. foreign and domestic policy.
Randall, who gave up her U.S. citizenship in 1967, ″was denied adjustment of status solely on the basis of the ideas and opinions expressed in her published writings,″ the authors said.
The government has ordered Randall to leave the United States by Wednesday. If she has not done so, proceedings to have her deported will begin.
She was denied permanent resident status under provisions of a 1952 law that permits the government to exclude from the United States anyone who advocates ″the economic, international and government doctrines of world communism.″ In an Oct. 2 order directing her departure, A.H. Giugni, INS district director in El Paso, Tex., said Randall renounced her U.S. citizenship on July 13, 1967, while living in Mexico. She fled to Cuba in 1968 and then moved to Nicaragua in 1981. She re-entered the United States on a visitor’s visa on Aug. 31, 1983, and applied for permanent resident status on March 14, 1984.
She is now living in Albuquerque, N.M., where she is a professor of American and women’s studies at the University of New Mexico.
Duke Austin, an INS spokesman, that after Randall formally renounced her U.S. citizenship, she joined groups that make her eligibility for permanent residency questionable.
″The United States has taken the position she is not eligible,″ he said. ″That is on appeal in the administrative procedure. Now she has taken it to the courts to get relief, which she has a right to do ... We will see if she or the government has a valid position.″
Giugni, after examining five of Randall’s books, said her writings over the past 20 years bar her from the benefits for which she has applied.
″Her writings go far beyond mere dissent, disagreement with, or criticism of the United States or its policies,″ he wrote.
″Her associations with and her activities and writings in support of the communist dominated governments of Cuba, North Vietnam and Nicaragua, and her advocacy and support of revolutionary activity, as well as her affiliation with and participation in Communist Party activities, warrant the denial of her application,″ Giugni wrote.
The suit, brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the authors and the PEN American Center, a writer’s association, says the decision to deny Randall permanent residency for ideological reasons is not an isolated occurrence.
″Rather, it is part of a larger policy and practice, by which the defendants have improperly used their authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act to shape and limit political debate within the United States,″ the suit said.
Named as defendants are Attorney General Edwin Meese III, INS Commissioner Allen C. Nelson and Giugni.