The program requiring males age 16 or older from 20 countries to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service ["Registration Stirs Panic, Worry," front page, Jan. 10] has prompted an ironic response by at least some of those visitors to the United States: They are protesting vigorously and openly, and our laws protect their freedom to do so.

I hope they will take their experiences with freedom and democracy here back to their own countries and strive to alter their societies. That would be a more productive use of their energy than criticizing the INS and demanding rights available only to U.S. citizens.

HENRY H. EMURIAN

Baltimore

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The ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to allow U.S. citizens to be held as enemy combatants is disturbing ["Judges Uphold U.S. Detention of Hamdi," front page, Jan. 9]. Essentially, the court declined to intervene because of the constitutional powers granted to the president and the blurred role of the courts in wartime.

But the war on terrorism could last years or decades. While Congress is responsible for granting or revoking war powers, shouldn't the courts play a role in guaranteeing strict adherence to the Constitution, including citizens' constitutional rights?

Considering that the president could wield these powers for some time, the judiciary must ensure that they are not abused.

If the courts refuse to live up to their responsibility to protect citizens' constitutional rights, who will?

CHRISTOPHER COOK

Baltimore