Immigration

Minister urged to stop deportation of Tamil family

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Refugee advocates are calling for Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to reconsider deporting a Sri Lankan family, who could be deported as early as Tuesday.

Every hour, on the hour, Tamils Priya and Nadesalingam call to say they have not been deported.

They call Simone Cameron from Home to Bilo to tell her they and their two daughters are still in a Melbourne immigration detention centre and have not been deported to Sri Lanka as per the federal government's decision.

Tamils Priya and Nadesalingam and their two Australian-born children lost a bid to stop their deportation at the Federal Circuit Court on June 21, but have 21 days to appeal.

The family was issued deportation notices on June 22 - less than two days into the appeal period.

Protesters hold photos of the family facing imminent deportation.
Protesters hold photos of the family facing imminent deportation.
SBS

Simone Cameron is a friend of the family and an advocate part of the Home to Bilo campaign.

She said they are desperately asking Mr Dutton to override the Migration Act.

"They could be back to Biloela tomorrow if he just listens to the will of the people. We've said that we love this family, we want them back," she told SBS News. 

"All the people of Biloela feel that way and people right around Australia. So we feel like that should be enough really."

Protesters in Melbourne call for the Immigration Minister to stop the deportation of the family.
Protesters in Melbourne call for the Immigration Minister to stop the deportation of the family.
SBS

Ms Cameron said lawyers have an urgent hearing scheduled for Monday to stop the deportation of the family. 

"If the federal court appeal is processed Pria and the girls will stay in detention until that hearing occurs, which may take several more months," she told protesters in Melbourne. 

"The legal side of things is an absolute mine field. But at its core this is a story of a family and a town that loves them, and wants them back."

"And there is just one person who can right these wrongs.

"Minister Dutton you've said several times how warm the welcome is for people seeking asylum in regional towns. Well this story is a perfect example of a warm embrace."

The family is being held in a Melbourne immigration detention centre.

Priya and Nadesalingam came to Australia separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 and settled in Biloela, Queensland, before having their two daughters.

Nadesalingam was getting ready for work at the local meatworks and the children were in bed when Australian Border Force officials came to the house at dawn on March 5, giving them 10 minutes to pack.

The family was taken to Perth Airport a week later and put on a plane to deport them to Sri Lanka before last-minute legal intervention saw them taken off.

A petition containing about 100,000 signatures calling for their right to stay was delivered to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in May.

- with AAP

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