Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father in Cuba

by Dennis Brown

Six-year-old Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father in Cuba, says Barbara Szweda, codirector of the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic and an expert in immigration law.p. “From the standpoint of immigration law, it is pretty clear that the child should be returned to Cuba,” says Szweda. “The only grounds for his remaining in the United States would be that he was seeking asylum, which requires that he make a showing that he was persecuted or feared persecution based on his political opinion, religion nationality, ethnicity or social group. He can’t meet that burden.”p. Family law also dictates that young Elian should be returned to his father, according to Szweda.p. “His father had an ongoing relationship with the boy prior to his leaving Cuba and his parental rights have never been terminated,” she said. "Furthermore, there has been no proof offered that the father in any way mistreated or abuse the child. Distant relatives have no right under the law to speak for the child.p. “In my opinion, the child belongs with his father.”

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