House GOP leaders ask Clinton to prevent Justice action against Elian
Washington (CNN) -- Four Republican members of the House leadership have written a letter to President Clinton asking that he prevent the Justice Department from "forcibly removing Elian Gonzalez from his Miami home and return him to communist Cuba."
The letter, signed by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), House Republican Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and House Republican Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (R-Oklahoma) states "It is our understanding that the Department of Justice may soon attempt to forcibly remove Elian Gonzalez from his Miami home and return him to communist Cuba. As this is a matter of urgency, we request that you immediately instruct Attorney General Reno to not take such action."
In their letter, the congressmen also say to Clinton that "We continue to demand that you instruct the Attorney General to abide by your administration's original position that the Florida family court should decide what is in the best interest of Elian. At a minimum, the proceedings before the federal courts should be allowed to run their course."
The letter says the judicial process "is the best way for determining what is in the best interest of this child ... nevertheless, the Department is threatening this removal action while Elian's case is pending before the courts, attempting to short-circuit the appeals process undermining fundamental procedural rights protected by our constitution."