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Janet Reno on Immigration

Former Attorney General; Democratic Challenger FL Governor


Miami relatives broke US law by not giving Elian to father

The INS determined that only Juan Miguel Gonzalez could speak for his son on immigration matters. From that moment, I could have taken action to return Elian to his father, but I did not. Instead, I gave the relatives a chance to challenge my decision in federal district court. They did, and the court sided with the government. That is why I finally directed the relatives to turn over the child nine days ago. When Lazaro Gonzalez didn’t comply, parole and care was revoked. That means that for the past nine days, Lazaro Gonzalez has not had lawful custody of Elian. When the INS places an unaccompanied child into the care of an adult, that adult is required to comply with the directives of the INS. To maintain, as the Miami relatives did, that the INS somehow lacks authority over the immigration parole of a minor in the US, simply ignores the law.
Source: Press statement on Elian Gonzalez , Apr 22, 2000

Sided with INS & against US relatives in Elian Gonzalez case

Reno was frequently in the news due to the immigration case of Elian Gonzalez, who was rescued off the coast of Florida during a flight from Cuba. Elian’s relatives did not want the boy sent back, saying that he would not be free in Castro’s Cuba; his father wanted him returned. Reno sided with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, ruling that Elian should go back to his family in Cuba.
Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.; Gale Group , Jan 1, 1999

Immigrants enrich us, but illegal immigrants cost us

To outline her views, Reno praised the immigrant tradition that has made the U.S. “splendid and strong” but that now burdens public services. “We’ve got to understand that the problem is not immigration, it is illegal immigration. For those who are entitled to be here, we have got to assure that with due process. For those not entitled, we need to assure due process to them in a swift and understandable manner with no abuse from any agency.”
Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.276 , Jul 21, 1993

Prosecuted 1000s of Cubans from Mariel boatlift

In April 1980 Fidel Castro threw open the harbor at the fishing port of Mariel to allow boats to come and go. For years Castro had been irritated with American immigration policy, which treated Cubans differently from other foreigners. Any Cuban who made it to American soil could expect asylum. With the opening of Mariel, Cuban-Americans jumped into boats and headed south to pick up friends and relatives left in Cuba. When they arrived in Mariel, Castro’s soldiers filled the boats with the occupants of Cuba’s jails and hospital wards for the criminally insane. “Castro was snookering us,” Reno said. Dade County bore the brunt of it. In less than 5 months, more than 120,000 Cubans entered Miami.

Many of the so-called Marielitos found their way into Latin American drug networks. Reno’s office, already overworked, was overwhelmed. Her 130 prosecutors handled more than 25,000 felony cases in 1980-81, up from 15,000 in 1977-78.

Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p. 85-86 , Apr 1, 1980

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for policy papers on Immigration.
  • Click here for a profile of Janet Reno.
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Other candidates on Immigration: Janet Reno on other issues:
Obama Administration:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:John Kerry
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DoD:Chuck Hagel
A.G.:Eric Holder
HHS:Kathleen Sebelius
USDA:Tom Vilsack

First Obama Administration:
State:Hillary Clinton
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DOT:Ray LaHood
DOI:Ken Salazar
DOL:Hilda Solis

Former Bush Administration:
State:Colin Powell
State:Condi Rice
EPA:Christie Whitman

Former Clinton Administration:
HUD:Andrew Cuomo
V.P.Al Gore
Labor:Robert Reich
A.G.:Janet Reno
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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014