Townsville, Australia – 9-year-old Tyrone Sevilla, son of Ma Cecilia “Maria” Sevilla is being threatened with deportation to the Philippines by the Immigration Department because of his autism. His mother might be forced to leave as well, due to the recent ruling.
Sevilla and her son came to the Land Down Under in 2007 in search of a better life. Tyrone was diagnosed with autism six months later. Yet despite this news Sevilla completed her nurse studies at TAFE and university and, because of her hard work and compassionate beside manner, she rose to a clinical nursing position at Townsville hospital.
She applied for a 489 skilled visa this year but the application was denied due to her son not meeting with the health guidelines set in Australia’s Migration Act. According to the government, they fear that Tyrone’s learning difference will be a financial burden on the country’s taxpayers. Sevilla has only three options: Have her son deported to a country he does’t know, get deported with him, or fight the decision.
It didn’t take long for her to decide what to do. She’s fighting, and has thus created a change.org petition to convince Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to allow her and Tyrone to stay. news.com.au contacted the distraught mother who tearfully commented:
“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!”
She added that her son is a cheeky-happy child who can lighten the mood of a room simply by walking in it. Like all mothers with children on the spectrum she knows that her son has plenty to offer the world, if only the Australian government would allow them to discover what it could be. Tyrone may have trouble communicating, but he can read, ride a bike, and take on school studies in a special Townsville school. In fact, the only thing Sevilla find’s taxing in this situation is the appeals process.
Clinical nursing consultant and Sevilla’s supervisor at Townsville Hospital Sara Wilkinson agrees that she needs to stay. In her interview with news.com.au she commented that:
“She is an excellent nurse, very thorough, very patient-focused, and she takes leadership if there’s something that needs to be done,”
adding that her well preformed duties as a nurse would more then pay back Australia for any financial losses incurred because of Tyrone.
What makes the problem worse is that all of Sevilla’s family is in Australia including her mother, brother, aunt, uncle and cousins. They live in nearby Queensland and she knows she would be lost without their gracious help.
One of Mr. Morrison’s spokespeople sent a comment about the issue to news.com.au that reiterated his earlier ruling, making sure to add that Sevilla was “advised of her options for independent review of the decision. People can only seek ministerial intervention once a refusal decision has been upheld at merits review.”
The online petition can be found here
The original article on the news.com.au website can be read here
Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead