The Immigration and Naturalization Service on Friday rejected a request by Juan Miguel Gonzalez to remove his son Elian from the home of Miami relatives fighting a U.S. order to return him to Cuba. Gonzalez wants the boy to live with another relative until the order can be enforced.
In a letter read by telephone to Gonzalez in Havana by the U.S. Interests Section there, the INS told him it shared his concern that his son be well cared for. But "transferring Elian temporarily to a new and unfamiliar environment would not be advisable for the child after already experiencing the trauma of leaving his home in Cuba and losing his mother." Instead, the INS said, it will "continue to focus its efforts on returning Elian."
Gonzalez's request followed news reports that the boy, who survived a boating accident in November during an attempt to reach the U.S. that killed his mother, was receiving psychiatric care and attending a private school with a curriculum that includes anti-communist politics. Other reports said that Lazaro and Delfin Gonzalez, the great-uncles who have refused to send Elian home, have drunk driving convictions and that twin 32-year-old cousins have felony arrests.
Juan Miguel Gonzalez has sent two letters to Atty. Gen. Janet Reno and INS Commissioner Doris Meissner over the last two weeks challenging the U.S. government to assert its authority over Elian's care in the face of Lazaro Gonzalez's continuing refusal to comply with the Jan. 5 INS order to return 6-year-old Elian to Cuba.