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Special Event

INS to Provide Elian Gonzalez' Relatives Letter Detailing How to Transfer Custody of 6-Year-Old

Aired April 6, 2000 - 8:08 p.m. ET

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

JIM MORET, CNN ANCHOR: We're now going to go to Robert Wallis of the INS, about to make a statement in Miami.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ROBERT WALLIS, INS: ... his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez. Officials from the Department of Justice and the Immigration and Naturalization Service had extended their discussions with the relatives attorneys and deferred revocation of Elian's parole status for a week in an effort to reach a cooperative solution.

Recognizing how much Lazaro Gonzalez and his family care for this child, we had hoped that the relatives would understand the importance of reuniting Elian and his father with as little conflict as possible.

Unfortunately, the extended discussions did not produce the simple and reasonable assurances from the relatives that they would voluntarily produce Elian. This standard assurance is required by federal law as a condition of parole. Instead, the attorneys continue to revisit the issue of whether Elian should be reunited with his father, as opposed to discussing how best to reunite the two.

In January, the INS decided and the attorney general affirmed that the father speaks for the son. For the past four months, the father has made it very clear that he wants to be reunited with his son. Thereafter, a federal court agreed.

At any point along the way, the INS and the Department of Justice could have implemented this decision, but decided not to do so. Instead, we went to extraordinary lengths to try to resolve this matter in a cooperative manner.

We still hope for an orderly process for reuniting Elian with his father. The opportunity to ensure this orderly process rests squarely with the relatives in Miami.

We urge everyone to put the well being of Elian before all else in this process. We will soon provide the relatives in Miami with a letter, setting forth the process for reuniting Elian with his father, who arrived in the United States this morning.

Thank you. MORET: There, you heard a statement from Robert Wallis of the INS, saying that they will provide the relatives of Elian Gonzalez in Miami a letter providing them with the exact details of how to hand over custody of Elian Gonzalez over to the family. The INS saying it has gone to extraordinary lengths to resolve this in a cooperative manner and is hopeful that it can still do so.

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