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Special Event

INS Will Meet With Gonzalez Family in Miami Once Again Tomorrow

Aired March 28, 2000 - 3:57 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BOBBIE BATTISTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In fact, as we end the show here, the members of the Justice Department who are speaking on the Elian Gonzalez case are stepping up to the microphones in Miami to discuss the current situation.

Let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Karen Kraushaar from the headquarters INS public affairs office will read the statement in English, and Maria Elana Garcia Upton (ph) will read the statement in Spanish. Afterwards, they will take no questions. Thank you.

KAREN KRAUSHAAR, INS SPOKESWOMAN: Good afternoon.

Officials representing the Department of Justice and the Immigration and Naturalization Service met with attorneys representing Lazaro Gonzalez this morning at the INS district office in Miami. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the ramifications of parole termination and the orderly return of Elian to his father, including most importantly, measures to ensure that Elian's transfer occur in a manner that is sensitive to the child's needs. While INS has always had the authority to implement its decision, we have gone to great lengths to bring about a resolution that is carried out in a manner that creates as little disruption for Elian as is possible.

Far from depriving Lazaro Gonzalez of his right to a appeal, we have attempted to accommodate his interests in obtaining review by the court of appeals while assuring a prompt and orderly reunion of Elian and his father if the district court's decision is affirmed. This assurance is consistent with federal law and normal INS procedures. Under federal immigration law and INS procedure, the government routinely requests written assurances that individuals paroled into the United States will comply with the terms of their parole.

The simple assurances we have sought from Lazaro Gonzalez are that he will cooperate with an orderly transfer of Elian Gonzalez in the event of an adverse ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals and barring emergency injunctive relief from the Supreme Court.

Lazaro Gonzalez will be meeting with INS and Justice Department officials tomorrow afternoon. We hope that at that time he will agree to the very reasonable conditions that we have set out as a condition of Elian's continued parole.

From the beginning we have been mindful of the fact that at the center of this case is a 6-year-old boy who has been through a terrible ordeal. We are concerned for him and will continue to try to resolve this matter in a way that avoids additional trauma to him. It has been nearly 12 weeks since the commissioner's decision and four months since Elian was separated from his father and lost his mother.

As district court Judge Moore said in his ruling last week, each passing day is another day lost between Juan Gonzalez and his son. We continue to urge everyone involved to work together to understand, respect and uphold the bond between parent and child and the laws of the United States.

Thank you, and we will now read the statement in Spanish.

BATTISTA: A quick news conference here from the Justice Department and the INS on the latest in the Elian Gonzalez case. As you know, tensions have been rising over this issue today because the Gonzalez family has not wished to sign a surrender order that is part of an agreement with the Justice Department to turn the boy over to authorities, which is independent from his appeal process. The Gonzalez family will be meeting again with INS officials tomorrow to try to work all of that out. And we'll continue here in just a moment.

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