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The Randall Case

To the Editors:

The National Writers Union would like to call your readers’ attention to the law suit filed by Margaret Randall which challenged for the first time the constitutionality of the 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act.

The Act defines as “ideologically excludable” from the US individuals “whose works advocate communism, anarchism, or opposition to organized government—or persons who have associated with Marxists or subversives.” Ms. Randall, who is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights, has been charged a “subversive” under the Act and faces deportation.

In 1966 Margaret Randall became a Mexican citizen after renouncing her US citizenship upon the misleading advice of a US Embassy official and her attorneys. In 1984 she re-entered the US and applied for permanent residency. INS officials, after examining five of her forty books for political content, declared that they “go beyond mere dissent, disagreement with, or criticism of the US and its policies.”

On August 28, 1986, Immigration Judge Martin Spiegel ruled that Ms. Randall’s writings “advocated the economic, international, and governmental doctrines of world communism,” (my italics) the latter term defined by statute as “advocating the establishment of a totalitarian Communist dictatorship…through the means of an internationally coordinated Communist movement.” Judge Spiegel stated in his thirty-four–page decision that but for that statutory exclusion provision, he would have granted Ms. Randall permanent resident status on the strength of her family ties and contributions to the community.

The Margaret Randall case exposes our vulnerability as a democratic society. What other writers will be labeled subversive because they dare to voice publicly or in print a dissenting point of view? The National Writers Union hopes your readers will join us in a letter-writing campaign to local congressmen and senators, urging the repeal of the McCarran-Walter Act and support for Margaret Randall.

Renée Epstein

New York City

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