- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2000

Deporting Guyanese

The ambassador of Guyana is trying to persuade Congress to change immigration laws that allow the deportation of foreigners convicted of crimes after they have served their prison terms.

Ambassador Odeen Ismael, in a letter to about 200 members of Congress, complains that deported of ex-convicts is creating a crime problem in his small South American country that has few resources to deal with them.

He also argues that the United States should keep them here and rehabilitate them because their "deviant behavior is a product of the U.S. environment in which they have resided."

Mr. Ismael said other Central and South American countries and Caribbean nations share his opinion.

He is urging Congress to amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to allow ex-convicts to stay if they arrived in the United States as minors, are married to American citizens or have families here.

Some Guyanese "were convicted for serious crimes which included trafficking and the sale of illegal narcotics and crimes of violence," Mr. Ismael wrote.

"In all these cases, these persons generally had no criminal records before leaving Guyana to reside in the United States," he wrote. "Many of them also left Guyana when they were young children and, over the years, have lost all familial and cultural connections with their homeland.

"It is unfortunate that many of those deported to Guyana have resorted to a life of criminal activity … [that] not only tarnishes the name of my country but reflects negatively on the Guyanese populace at large."

Mr. Ismael complained that his country is being "penalized" by the United States, "in whose social environment the criminalizing of these persons developed."

"The United States," he added, "has the moral responsibility to rehabilitate these persons who have completed their sentences, since their deviate behavior is a product of the U.S. environment in which they have resided."

Kazakh newsletter

Kazakhstan Ambassador Bolat Nurgaliyev says he really wants "feedback" and "reactions" to the Kazakhstan Embassy Bulletin, the embassy's newly launched newsletter.

The publication grew out of the embassy's series of "Election Bulletins," which trumpeted the country's progress toward democracy. The Kazakh government heralded the October parliamentary elections as free and fair, although international observers disagreed.

"The year 2000 will be exciting for Kazakhstan," Mr. Nurgaliyev wrote in his first edition of the newsletter. "We will spend this year reinforcing the positive economic trends and strengthening the institutions of Kazakhstan's democracy."

He promised to keep readers "fully informed on the progress our nation will make … in economic and political liberalization and reform."

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Venezuelan Vice President Isaias Rodriguez, who meets business executives with investments in Venezuela and addresses a conference with the InterAmerican Dialogue, Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution. He holds a press conference at the Venezuelan Embassy tomorrow at 11 a.m.

• Former South Korean President Kim Young-sam, who addresses invited guests at American University on globalization.

• Goenawan Mohammed, an Indonesian editor and poet, speaks to invited guests at the U.S.-Indonesia Society.

Wednesday

• King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, who will open a Viking exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. Norwegian Foreign Minister Thurbjorn Jaglamd, who meets members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Norwegian congressional caucus and Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

Thursday

• Hedy Fry, Canada's secretary of state for multiculturalism and women's issues, leads a delegation to a meeting on women's issues at the Organization of American States.

• Karamatullah Khan Gori, the Turkish ambassador to Pakistan, holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club to discuss the future of Pakistan.

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