Thou­sands beg Australia not to de­port autis­tic boy

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A 10-year-old autis­tic Filipino boy made an emo­tional plea Mon­day for per­mis­sion to stay in Australia, as tens of thou­sands called for him not to be de­ported de­spite the po­ten­tial cost of his con­di­tion.

Ty­rone Sevilla, who ar­rived in Australia from the Philip­pines legally as a 2-year-old with his mother Maria Sevilla, has writ­ten to Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton ask­ing to stay.

The let­ter, which reads: “Dear Mr Dut­ton, can I stay in Australia please ... Ty­rone,” was the first one her son had writ­ten and prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant he would ever write, Maria said.

“With our help, he man­aged to sit down and write all those let­ters on the page. For him to sit down and do that, it’s a dif­fer­ent Ty­rone,” she told AFP.

Maria Sevilla said the let­ter showed her son, who does not nor­mally com­mu­ni­cate by speak­ing, un­der­stood the fam­ily’s sit­u­a­tion af­ter they were de­nied visas due to the prob­a­ble cost of pro­vid­ing for Ty­rone’s care.

Maria, who has been in Australia since 2007 on a va­ri­ety of visas, said she and her son had been de­nied per­mis­sion to stay longer be­cause they were la­beled a “bur­den” to Aus­tralian tax­pay­ers.

The Sevil­las pre­sented a peti- tion, signed by more than 120,000 peo­ple, to Dut­ton’s elec­toral of­fice in Bris­bane in the hope that the min­is­ter would give com­pas­sion­ate con­sid­er­a­tion to their cause.

The fam­ily said Ty­rone did not speak Filipino or have any close rel­a­tives re­main­ing in the Philip­pines, with his grand­mother, grand­fa­ther, un­cle, aunt and cousins all living in the Aus­tralian city of Townsville.

Call for Com­mon Sense

Dut­ton said the im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment was pre­par­ing a re­port for him on the case, and in the mean­time a bridg­ing visa — which typ­i­cally cov­ers a 28-day pe­riod — would be is­sued for the mother and son.

“In this case we need to ap­ply com­mon sense,” he told the ABC.

“We’re a com­pas­sion­ate so­ci­ety and we want to help fam­i­lies in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions.”

“There’s no fear that any­body is go­ing to be de­ported, there will be a bridg­ing visa which will be is­sued which is stan­dard prac­tice in th­ese mat­ters,” he added.

Dut­ton stressed that such de­ci­sions were al­ways hard and emo­tional, but the im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment must con­sider the costs of con­di­tions such as autism on the pro­vi­sion of ser­vices.

“It is a dif­fi­cult area be­cause we have thou­sands of ap­pli­ca­tions ... but we have to be sen­si­ble about the num­ber to whom we should pro­vide that sup­port,” he said.

Dut­ton said a de­ci­sion would likely be made within weeks, and it would take into ac­count the fact that Sevilla was em­ployed and could look af­ter her son.

Australia takes a hard line against asy­lum-seek­ers ar­riv­ing by boat, re­fus­ing them re­set­tle­ment in the coun­try even if they are found to be refugees and send­ing them in­stead to Pa­cific states.


This un­dated photo re­ceived by AFP on April 27 shows an im­age taken by Maria Sevilla of her son Ty­rone Sevilla hold­ing a sign he wrote with a mes­sage for Australia’s Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Peter Dut­ton ask­ing to stay in the coun­try.

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