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In reply to a faxed list of questions seeking response to Ramirez¹s allegations, the INS media relations office in Miami issued the following statement:

The law enforcement actions conducted by the Florida District of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) regarding Elián González were appropriate, have been appropriate, and will continue to be tested in federal court.

Neither Acting District Director John M. Bulger nor his predecessor, Robert A. Wallis, condone[s] the presence, in our facilities, of materials of any kind which are or could be considered offensive to any employee or member of the public, according to John C. Shewairy, Chief of Staff of the INS in Florida. "Every manager and supervisor of this District is expected to take immediate action to remove inappropriate materials if they become aware of them."

Shewairy added that "[t]he core values of the leadership of this office embrace dignity and respect for each and every individual in our community, and that includes our fellow employees. While we will not address the individual feelings of employees in this highly sensitive issue, we do want to assure people that any actions that violate our core values are dealt with timely and decisively."

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse