2000 NCC News ArchivesUpdate: NCC General Secretary Regarding INS Decision To Return Elian Gonzalez To His Father
January 5, 2000, Cancun, Mexico
Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, representing the NCC in an effort to reunite Elian Gonzalez with his father in Cuba.
The decision of the INS to give custody of Elian Gonzalez to his father is right and just. This decision is to be affirmed and must not be tied to protracted legal battles that would delay the boy's actual, physical return to Cuba.
Our position has been that Elian needs to be with his immediate family which is a position that the United States holds in relation to family issues, whether they be domestic or international cases. We would rarely choose to place a child with an extended family rather than with the immediate family, particularly when the family is strong and loving as this one is.
If the boy is returned immediately, Cubans will be grateful and jubilant. From what I have read about opinion in the U.S., most people here believe the boy should be returned to his father and I think they will see this as a just and proper decision.
The role of the Cuban Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches was important in getting access to the Cuban family and helping to tell their story. We were told that the Cuban family will request that we bring the boy back. We do not know what the response to that request will be, but we remain ready and willing to do this.
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