Federal Court Rules Elian Stays In US

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

(CNSNews.com) - A federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld a temporary injunction allowing six-year-old Cuban boat refugee Elian Gonzalez to remain in the United States pending a court appeal by his Miami relatives on his status set for May 11th once again in Federal Court in Atlanta.

"The true legal merits of this case will be finally decided in the future. We intend to hear oral arguments. We need to think more and hard about this case," the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said in its ruling.

The ruling was greeted by cheers from the crowd in front of the Gonzalez home in Miami's "Little Havana" community.

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), which is backing Elian's Miami relatives in trying to keep the boy in the United States, was overjoyed at the decision, calling it a "major victory."

The Cuban Interests Section in Washington called the ruling "disappointing." There was no reaction yet from Elian's biological father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez who remains in a Washington suburb while the custody battle continues over his son.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Director Doris Meissner said in a statement from her office in Washington, "There is nothing in the ruling that would specifically prevent the Justice Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service from taking action to remove Elian from Lazaro Gonzalez's home." Meissner had no further comment.

Attorney General Janet Reno left Washington on Wednesday afternoon for Oklahoma City for memorial services in remembrance of the Oklahoma City bombing and her office said they have no comment on the ruling at the moment.