What Qualifies as a Deportable Offense?

In "How One Teen Almost Got Her Mother Deported" (July 7), on deportation of criminal aliens, the article seriously mischaracterized the 1996 immigration reform law.

It incorrectly stated that the 1996 law made domestic violence a deportable offense. The 1996 law did not add to the list of deportable crimes. Rather, it added some already deportable crimes to the list of "aggravated felonies" for which the legal waiver of deportation is very limited. Aggravated felonies are serious crimes ranging from murder, rape, and drug trafficking to kidnapping, child pornography, and espionage.

To qualify as an aggravated felony, a crime of violence must result in a prison sentence of at least one year. The example given in your story, of a mother striking her daughter with a stick, would not be an aggravated felony. Thus, the error in the article's premise, that the mother must be deported, resulted in an error in the article's conclusion that the 1996 immigration law was too harsh.

Rep. Lamar Smith


Chairman, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims

Northern Ireland's parades

I read with interest "N. Ireland's Clash of Identities" (July 9). From the attention given to this one parade in Portadown, Northern Ireland, it would seem that Protestants in the north have real cause to fear for the survival of their traditions. What the article does not indicate is that there are some 3,000 parades during what is called "the marching season." And of these parades less than 1 percent are contested by Catholic nationalists.

Imagine the outrage of a black neighborhood in the United States being forced to accept a parade through their streets by members of the Klu Klux Klan. The article does report the remark of one resident spokesman of Garvaghy Road that, "They [the Orange Order] had all year to talk." If the Orange Order will not even engage in dialogue with the residents of the neighborhoods where marches are contested, and if David Trimble will not even talk to Gerry Adams, then have "the talks" really replaced "the troubles?"

Virginia Davis

Portland, Ore.

Revived love for baseball

Thank you for your article "A Simple Act of Major League Kindness" (July 10). It puts a very different spin on a sports story. Sports facts were shared, but the human touch gave the article a spin that would appeal to everyone, not just those who read the sports section.

My family has always loved baseball and supported the Toronto Maple Leafs (not the hockey team but a minor league baseball team). Baseball has been the only sport the Milburn family has followed. In recent years it's been a little tough to remain a baseball fan. The materialistic nature of the owners and the baseball "stars" and the baseball strike have made it difficult to retain loyalty and interest.

Your story helped me to remember why baseball is special and to recall that baseball is a sport that contains fun, joy, and good sportsmanship. Thank you for your refreshing approach to sports writing.

Dorothy Milburn-Smith

Ottawa, Ontario

Necktie advice

I strongly disagree with the advice of giving up neckties adorned with Daffy Duck in "OK Guys, Time to Give Up Your Tweety Bird Tie" (July 8). I actually own a Daffy Duck necktie and have worn it on several occasions to high-caliber business meetings. At every occasion, delightful comments about this wacky necktie breaks the ice and leads the way to a jolly, successful meeting.

Phil Hall

New York

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