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Breaking News

Elian Gonzalez's Father Coming to U.S.

Aired April 5, 2000 - 9:11 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Let me cut in for a second. Let's go to Washington, to Greg Craig at the offices of Williams & Connolly.

GREGORY B. CRAIG, LAWYER FOR JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ: My name is Gregory B. Craig from the law firm of Williams & Connolly, and I represent Mr. Juan Miguel Gonzalez, who is a citizen of Cuba and the father of Elian Gonzalez.

Yesterday, I traveled to Cuba with a colleague from my law firm, Oliver Garcia, with Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former general-secretary of the National Council of Churches, and with Dr. Tom Facet (ph), general-secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church.

Dr. Campbell and Dr. Facet have been involved and have been working on this problem from the very beginning.

The purpose of this trip was to consult with our client, Mr. Gonzalez, and to advise him about what he, the father, might do to achieve a prompt, orderly and fair transfer of custody from Elian's relatives in Miami. We had useful and productive discussions. I think the trip was a success.

I am pleased to report that Juan Miguel Gonzalez, his wife, and 6-month-old son will be coming to the United States. They will arrive tomorrow morning, Thursday, April 6th, at 7:00 a.m. at Dulles Airport.

Juan Miguel has now been separated from his 6-year-old son for over four months. This separation occurred through no fault of his and has continued against his wishes. It is time for this reunion to go forward, and he has come here and is prepared to stay here until he has achieved that objective.

For many weeks, people have asked why the father has not come to the United States to take custody of his son. For just as many weeks, Juan Miguel has stated that he would happily travel to the United States and was fully prepared to do so if he could only be assured that when he came here, he would, in fact, be given custody of his son.

On January 5th, the commissioner of internal -- of Immigration and Naturalization concluded that only Juan Miguel spoke for his son. Shortly after that, the attorney general confirmed that conclusion. Then on March 21st, just two weeks ago, United States District Court Judge Moore upheld that judgment. But it was not until Monday, April 3rd, that the INS issued a statement which said -- quote -- "Once Mr. Gonzalez arrives in the United States, the INS will begin transferring parole care from Lazaro Gonzalez to the boy's father" -- unquote.

We take this statement to mean, from the INS, to mean and to be an assurance that when Juan Miguel comes to the United States tomorrow, the process for transferring to him the care and the custody of his son, Elian, will immediately begin.

KING: OK, there you have it.

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