Elian Gonzalez

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Elian Gonzalez

Is it possible for a six-year-old boy to successfully seek asylum in the United Sates against his father’s wishes? This is the main point of exploration in the April 21, 2000 article (off the wire) that appeared in The Plain Dealer. The article relates, “to be granted asylum, people must show that they were persecuted or had a legitimate fear of persecution in their home country because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinions.” According to the article, the case has not reached a decision because of the debate over whether Elian Gonzalez has the right to seek asylum. For the time being, he is allowed to remain with his Miami relatives until the matter is resolved. There may be several levels of appeals and years of debate if the case is sent to an asylum hearing.

Janet Reno, Attorney General, Joe Lockhart, White House Spokesperson and Richard D. Freer, a professor at the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta was interviewed and quoted as sources regarding the possible outcome of the case. Lockhart and Freer had seemingly opposing views. Lockhart believe that the proper legal view is the view if Elian’s father. Freer thinks the debate should result in a longer stay in Miami for Elian. Reno asserts despite all of the predicted outcomes that there is no way to confidently determine what is to happen.

They key fact in the article is that federal law allows any alien resident in the United States to seek asylum and that the courts must make a decision after hearing arguments even if it is the arguments of a child Elian’s age. An example of a 1985 case where a 12-year-old Soviet child sought asylum against his parents’ wishes is presented. But the child was considered on the “lower end” of maturity in deciding his rights separate from his parents.

An AP photograph accompanied the article as it appeared in the Plain dealer but the content is unknown.

Another article on the same topic appeared in the Weekly Standard magazine on April 24,2000. Author, Tucker Carlson relates a two-sided protest regarding the fate of Elian Gonzalez. Among the public and private protesters lies entertainers Gloria Estefan and Andy Garcia who are both of Cuban origin. Both feel that Elian should be allowed to stay in the United States All of the deep seated emotion is over the fact that Janet Reno decided on April 13, 200 that the Miami relatives had until 2:00 p.
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