Department of Justice Seal



Friday, March 24, 2000

(202) 616-2777


TDD (202) 514-1888

Statement by Attorney General Janet Reno

on the Elian Gonzalez Case

"As I said earlier this week, our goal is to reunite Elianwith his father in a fair, prompt and orderly manner. From thebeginning, we have been mindful of the fact that at the center ofthis case is a six year old boy who has been through a terribleordeal. We are concerned for him and will continue to try toresolve this matter in a way that avoids additional trauma tohim.

"Earlier this week, Federal District Court Judge K. MichaelMoore sustained our judgment that Elian should be reunited withhis father. We have been willing to postpone the reunion whilethe district court considered the case, but we are not willing towait through an open-ended appeals process that could prolong theseparation of this child from his father. We agree with JudgeMoore that "each passing day is another day lost between JuanGonzalez and his son," and we cannot risk the harm that aprolonged separation might create.

"That is why we have proposed a solution that allows Elian'sMiami relatives adequate opportunity to appeal their case, whileworking to achieve a reunion between Elian and his father.

"Yesterday, we asked the relatives to agree to an expeditedappeals schedule, and we also asked them to commit to quicklyreturning Elian to his father if their appeal does not prevail. As of this moment, they have not agreed to comply with theseterms.

"We will continue to try to reach an agreement with Elian'sMiami relatives that meets these objectives. To that end, wehave sent their attorneys another letter this evening settingforth the next steps.

"A great strength of the United States is that we are aNation of laws and of respect for the law. I hope that all inthe community will work together to uphold our laws and help makean orderly process possible."



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