The Miami relatives of Cuban boat boy Elian Gonzalez will file a federal lawsuit Wednesday in a further bid to prevent the government from sending the child back to Cuba, lawyers for the family said today.
The lawsuit, which comes after the Immigration and Naturalization Service said it would ignore a Florida family court ruling giving the Miami relatives temporary custody of the 6-year-old, will be filed in the U.S. District Court here, the lawyers said in a statement.
It was expected to seek a ruling that would block any attempt by the INS to send the child back to his father in Cuba, despite appeals from the father and both the U.S. and Cuban governments that he should go home.
Legal experts were skeptical about the chances of the family's claim succeeding in federal court.
"The people bringing it have no standing and the arguments have no merit," University of Miami law professor David Abraham said.
Meanwhile, in Washington the leader of a Cuban American group that supports returning the boy to his father said Elian Gonzalez should not "be paraded around as a symbol for an anachronistic, angry mob in Miami."
Speaking at a Washington news conference held to support the U.S. government decision to send the shipwrecked boy home, Delvis Fernandez said that "demonstrations you see in Miami do not represent the views of the average Cuban American living in the U.S." Fernandez is president of the Cuban American Alliance, a nationwide umbrella group of Cuban American organizations that support engagement between the two countries.
Elian's mother and stepfather drowned when their ship sank. Elian and two others survived. Elian was rescued by the Coast Guard on Thanksgiving Day and since has been living with his Miami relatives.