Senate Lacks Votes on Question of Elian's Citizenship

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

( - Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) admits there is not enough support in the Senate to advance legislation that might help Elian Gonzalez stay in this country.

Lott told a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday, "We looked at giving him citizenship, permanent resident status, even just a resolution saying that we hope that he will not be sent back to Castro to become a ward of Cuba, but we have not been able to get an agreement where a large majority of our people are comfortable."

Lott suggested that the Elian matter be decided in family court. "This really does need to be decided in some place other, probably, than in the political arena or in the legislative arena."

Meanwhile, Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida) introduced legislation Tuesday designed to ensure better treatment of children in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Graham's measure would require that the INS place children in its custody in a place appropriate for children, and provide them with a guardian who will look out for the child's best interests. Graham's bill also would give the Attorney General more flexibility in evaluating a child's case.

"If the plight of Elian Gonzalez teaches us anything, it is that US immigration law has not been constructed in a manner that accounts for the special needs of our nation's most precious resources, our children," Graham said in a statement on Capitol Hill.