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Elian Gonzalez Case: Juan Miguel Gonzalez and Attorney Greg Craig Address Court's Denial of Asylum Hearing

Aired June 1, 2000 - 3:35 p.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Greg Craig, attorney for Juan Miguel Gonzalez, is speaking in Washington, D.C.

Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GREGORY CRAIG, ATTORNEY FOR JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ: ... and then Mr. Gonzalez will make a brief statement about the court's decision today. We are pleased that the 11th Circuit after full briefing argument and deliberation has unanimously agreed to affirm the district court's opinion.

Yet another court has concluded that Elian Gonzalez belongs with his father and that Juan Miguel Gonzalez is the only person who has the right to speak for his son. Make no mistake about what happened today, this case has been decided and in our view there is no longer any doubt about the ultimate outcome. We would point out that every court that has looked at the issues in this case, the Florida state court, the federal district court, and now the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has reached the same conclusion.

We want to congratulate the extraordinary legal team that represented the attorney general and the INS commissioner in this case. This was a very important victory not only for Juan Miguel Gonzalez and for the right of a parent to speak for his or her child, but also for the rule of law in the United States.

It is now time to end this chapter of Elian's life and to let this family go in peace. Elian's relatives in Miami say they love Elian. They say they are concerned about his future, but their love and their concern are best expressed today by calling a halt to this legal battle. There's now no uncertainty as to the outcome of this case. It has been decided by a diverse and a unanimous court.

The issue is no longer whether Juan Miguel Gonzalez will be allowed to make decisions for his 6-year-old son, the issue now is only when. We appeal to Lazaro Gonzalez and to the members of his family to accept this result with grace and with dignity. The time has come to let this family go, without further interference or delay. Thank you.

Mr. Gonzalez -- I would like Mr. Gonzalez to give his speech -- give his statement, please. Thank you.

JUAN MIGUEL GONZALEZ, ELIAN'S FATHER (through translator): Good afternoon.

I am very happy today for the decision made by the court. It's what I've always felt from the deepest part of my heart. A child simply should be with his parents, always should be with his parents, as a father I should be speaking on behalf of my son. Throughout all these weeks where my son has been with me, with his family, with his friends, we have been very happy together with him. I love him very much. And I would hope that this would come to an end and finally go back home together with my son and my whole family, and that this delay do not continue unnecessarily, as soon as possible.

I would like to thank the people of the United States for the great support and help they have given us throughout this process.

(speaking in English): I want to thank the American people. Thank you.

KAGAN: A few words in English from Elian Gonzalez's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, saying he wants to thank the American people. Also, a visibly happy and relieved father, he said in Spanish that he is very happy and that basically he and his family want to get home as soon as possible. We also heard pretty much the same sentiment from his attorney Greg Craig.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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