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A House subcommittee heard Thursday the "soap opera" story of a Salt Lake City widow whom the Immigration Service is trying to deport to her native Ireland.

Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, told the Immigration Subcommittee that through no fault of her own, Kathleen Bardole and her children are threatened with deportation unless Congress passes a private bill allowing her to remain in the United States.Mrs. Bardole was separated from her former husband, James J. Farley, 13 years ago in Ireland. She later met Frank Bardole, a Salt Lake chiropractor, and in 1986 married him in Utah. The Bardoles asked the Catholic Relief Services to file the necessary papers to have her given permanent resident status as a relative of a U.S. citizen. A CRS employee failed to file the documents, and Mrs. Bardole's ex-husband sued through the courts for custody of the children.

When the children were seized by the court, Frank Bardole died of a heart attack. The Immigration Service moved to deport his widow. Owens, calling the Bardole story a soap opera, told the subcommittee, "I frankly cannot see the point in exercising the letter of the law at the expense of its spirit," and asked that the woman and her children be given permanent resident status.