Elián González (born December 6, 1993) is a Cuban boy who was taken from Cuba by his mother in an attempt to emigrate to the United States in November 1999. She and ten others died in the attempt, leaving him to float into Florida on an inner tube with three other survivors. Elián's abduction by his mother would probably have been considered kidnapping under both American and Cuban law.
Due to certain intentional loopholes in United States immigration law, Cubans who leave Cuba and enter United States soil are generally allowed to remain in the country. Several of Elián's American relatives and various anti-Castro activist organizations stated in the media and the courts that this was a legal basis for Elián remaining in the United States. However, Elián's mother apparently took him without the knowledge or permission of his father, so in addition to the case's political asylum overtones, it was also a custody battle. The government of Cuba, and, after some debate, the United States' Immigration and Naturalization Service and Department of Justice, argued that for this reason Elián should be returned to his father, who remained in Cuba.
The battle reached as far as Congress and the Federal courts. After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the last appeal by Elián's Miami relatives, his relatives did not give him up as ordered. On April 22, 2000, U.S. Marshals burst into his great-uncle's home to seize him. A famous photograph exists of a Marshal with a submachine gun pointed in the general direction of Elián and a caretaker who is hiding in a closet. See http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/yip2000/yip_apr_1.html. There was a brief but vigorous political controversy over whether a search warrant authorized the use of force.
After rejoining his father in Washington, DC, Elián returned to Cuba with him in June 2000. They still reside there.