Magazine article The Christian Century

NCC Cheers Decision to Return Cuban Boy

Magazine article The Christian Century

NCC Cheers Decision to Return Cuban Boy

Article excerpt

The former general secretary of the National Council of Churches has welcomed the decision by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that six-year-old Elian Gonzalez should be returned to Cuba. "The decision of the INS to give custody of Elian Gonzalez to his father is right and just," said Joan Brown Campbell in a statement issued January 6. "This decision is to be affirmed and must not be tied to protracted legal battles that would delay the boy's actual, physical return to Cuba."

Campbell traveled to Cuba and met with Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's divorced father, and other relatives on January 3. She has been working on the case with the Cuban Council of Churches. Although Campbell completed her term as NCC general secretary on January 1, she said the new general secretary, Robert W. Edgar, requested that she make the trip because she has dealt with Cuba for two decades. In her statement, Campbell mentioned the willingness of the New York-based NCC to help with the return of the boy to Cuba, and the boy's father has asked the INS to let the NCC act as intermediary in the situation.

"Our position has been that Elian needs to be with his immediate family, which is a position that the United States holds in relation to family issues, whether they be domestic or international cases," Campbell said. "We would rarely choose to place a child with an extended family rather than with the immediate family, particularly when the family is strong and loving as this one is. …

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