Mother and Child Facing Deportation Over Autism Diagnosis
As I was reading news articles about the Filipino-Australian community, I came upon an article about Maria Sevilla and her son. I was deeply saddened by this news. My heart reached out to them. As a mother, I can’t imagine what I would do if this happened to me and my child.
Mrs. Sevilla and her son are facing deportation and fear that they might be deported from Australia in less than a month.
Mrs. Sevilla is currently working as a rehabilitation nurse at Townsville Hospital in North Queensland. She and her then-two-year-old son came to Australia from the Philippines in 2007. Tyrone was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder six months later.
Mrs. Sevilla and her 10-year-old son, Tyrone, are facing deportation because of Tyrone’s autism diagnosis. Sevilla lodged an application for a 489 Skilled Visa in 2014. Since her son did not meet the health requirements listed in Australia’s Migration Act, Mrs. Sevilla’s application was rejected. She subsequently appealed the decision.
The Australian federal government issued their ruling for the appeal last week. Citing the boy’s condition as their primary reason, the Australian government ruled that Mrs. Sevilla and her son should be deported to the Philippines. The government deemed Tyrone’s autism as a financial burden to taxpayers.
Before the ruling last week, Mrs. Sevilla has already launched a petition on Change.org to encourage Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to allow her and her son to stay. Her petition currently has more than 73,500 supporters—and its supporters are growing by the minute.
Mrs. Sevilla wrote in her Change.org petition, “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 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.”
She further added, “People with autism can be excellent at a whole range of things, he just needs to be given a chance!”
Mrs. Sevilla was given the option to stay in Australia, provided that she sends her son to the Philippines—a county which he knows little about. Furthermore, according to Mrs. Sevilla, they have no reliable relatives in the Philippines who will be able to take care of Tyrone. Most members of her immediate family, including her mother, brother, uncle, aunt, and cousins, are already in Australia.
What do you feel about the ruling?
I went through the comment sections of various news sites reporting on this issue. I found out that many are averse to the ruling. Many believe that Mrs. Sevilla and her son are more of an asset than a burden to the Australian government. However, there are some who believe that the ruling is just.
Personally, I can’t fathom living in Australia without my child. The mere suggestion of Tyrone being sent back to the Philippines alone horrifies me. I’m not sure how this will turn out but I am praying for the best. I hope for a happy ending for Mrs. Sevilla and Tyrone.