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Issue #1683      May 6, 2015

Please don’t deport my 9-year-old autistic son

My child Tyrone has spent almost his entire life here, English is the only language he hears, yet now, at 9 years of age, the government are going to deport myself and my son to the Philippines because of his autism.

I’ve worked for years, raising my son and studying to be a nurse. Yet all of it could be taken away because the government thinks that children with autism are going to be more of a cost to Australian society than a benefit – but that’s just not true!

In 2007, I brought Tyrone to Australia with me. He was two and a half. Six months after we arrived he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I studied nursing at TAFE and then at uni and now I’m employed at Townsville Hospital, North Queensland. I’ve worked for a year as a Registered Nurse and just been promoted to a clinical position. All we want to do is stay in Australia and keep working: caring for patients at work and supporting my son at his play.

I’ve applied for a visa to keep working here. Now they’ve told me it’s been refused because of Tyrone. They’re saying we are going to be forced to leave, and that I only have 21 days to try and submit an appeal.

Tyrone is not a burden, he is a joy. He’s non-verbal, but he still hears and still experiences the world. He is a happy child with a full of life attitude and can lighten the mood of a room with his presence. He doesn’t take any medication, and he attends a special school. The idea that he can’t contribute because of his condition is just wrong. People with autism can be excellent at a whole range of things, he just needs to be given a chance!

My son has no reliable relatives in the Philippines who would be capable of caring for him on a long term basis. Tyrone’s personal security, human and child rights, and dignity are at stake if he is sent there.

Please help me by asking the Minister to let my son stay on compassionate grounds. The failure to recognise Tyrone’s vulnerability is likely to result in harm and continuing hardship, not only to Tyrone but also to our Australian family unit.

Write a letter to MP Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, and express your dismay at the rejection of 489 Skilled Visa application of Ma Cecilia Sevilla and Tyrone James Sevilla by the Department of Australian Immigration and ask that he intervene and reverse this decision.

Next article – The Bali 9 Duo and the Indonesian military in SE Asia

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