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Poet Adrienne Rich Says Fellow Writer Should Not Be Deported

March 20, 1986

EL PASO, Texas (AP) _ Poet Adrienne Rich on Wednesday came to the defense of a fellow writer whose political beliefs are being questioned by the government in an effort to have her deported.

Ms. Rich, testifying as an expert witness in poetry and literature, called Margaret Randall’s work invaluable.

″I believe the academic community and the intellectual community in this country would be deprived of the voice, and many voices, that Margaret Randall has and continues to bring us,″ Ms. Rich told U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Judge Martin F. Spiegel.

Ms. Randall, who gave up her American citizenship and became a Mexican citizen in 1967, is trying to show the judge why she should not be deported.

Ms. Randall, an author of about 40 books, is an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M.

″The diversity of viewpoint ... is something without which the intellectual community would not thrive,″ Ms. Rich said. ″I also feel that for Margaret Randall to be deported would cause a great deal of dismay, affront and anger″ in academic and intellectual circles.

After testifying, Ms. Rich said she has met Ms. Randall at conferences where both were invited to read poetry and at a 1983 conference of artists and intellectuals in Nicaragua to discuss the politics and economics of Central American countries.

″I was requested to testify, but I let it be known that I’d be glad to participate in her defense,″ Ms. Rich said. ″I respect her enormously.″

Spiegel recessed the hearing until Thursday.

Al Giugni, INS district director in El Paso, denied Ms. Randall’s application for residency last year, citing excerpts from several of her books in which she supports the revolutions in Cuba and Nicaragua and the communist victory in Vietnam and criticizes U.S. policy toward those countries.

The government argues that Ms. Randall’s beliefs mean she can be deported under the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, which allows the INS to exclude from the United States foreigners who have been associated with communist or anarchist organizations.

Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Miller and Norman Mailer were among prominent authors who sued last October on Ms. Randall’s behalf challenging the constitutionality of the McCarran-Walter Act. The suit, filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C., is pending.

Ms. Randall moved to Mexico City in 1961, becoming a Mexican citizen six years later, but she fled to Cuba in 1969 after her involvement with ill-fated student protests in 1968.

Through the 1970s, she worked in a Cuban publishing house and wrote about women and socialist movements in Latin America. In 1980, she was invited by the Sandinista government to live in Nicaragua, where she continued her writing.

Ms. Randall returned to Albuquerque in 1984 on a visitor’s visa.

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