Elian Gonzalez is a 6-year-old boy who set sail from Cuba with his mother, stepfather, and 10 others in hopes of making it to America. Like others before them, their goal was to secure the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the American Constitution. Two days into the trip, the 12 foot boat they were traveling in broke apart and sank. Left clinging to inner tubes, only Elian and two others survived. Elian's mother and stepfather were among those who drowned in the ocean.

Elian was rescued and brought to America where he was reunited with relatives who had come to this country and settled in Miami, Florida. Elian seemed happy with his new home in America, but one question still loomed - should Elian stay here or return to Cuba and live with his father? Elian was not a citizen of the United States and in order to stay he would need to become one. The debate still rages as to whether Elian should stay in this country or go back to Cuba to live with his father.

Do you think Elian should:

Be sent home?

Stay in America?

The American Government says only Elian's biological father can make legal decisions for him and is therefore sending Elian back to Cuba to live with him. Many people want Elian to stay in America with his relatives instead of going back to the communist-ruled Cuba. What can his relatives in America do to protest the decision?

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Civics Online
Creation Date: 2/21/2000
Last Updated: 3/20/2005