Send Elián González home to his father in Cuba. What could be more obvious or compassionate? Furthermore, it is the law, not only civil law but natural law as well. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has made the right decision, and yet does not carry it out. Why not?
Attorney General Janet Reno, having disallowed the decision of a Florida state judge to grant a custody hearing to Elián’s great-uncle, allows him to petition a federal court. If the law is clear, as it seems to be, and if the INS has interpreted it correctly, as it seems to have done, what purpose is served in waiting for a federal judge to rule so? As time passes, who can doubt that the situation will become ever more painful for the boy, for his family in Cuba as well as his family in Miami.
Extortion-like protests in the streets of Miami and demagoguery in the corridors of Congress should have no bearing on the final outcome of this decision.
The case of Elián González is a tragedy. His mother died trying to bring him to the United States. In a nation of immigrants, her death naturally has a deep resonance. But it shows no disregard for her sacrifice, nor any naiveté about the political life of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, to say that a boy who has lost his mother is best reunited with his father.