By Eden Hynninen
AN IRISH family from Seymour have been handed a written deportation letter from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal following a four-year struggle to keep their son in Australia.
Christine and Tony Hyde have been told their family has until June 18 to pack up and depart Australia as their three-year-old son Darragh ‘does not meet the health criteria’.
Darragh was conceived while the couple applied for permanent residency in 2015 – once Darragh was born a mandatory medical assessment confirmed he had Cystic Fibrosis.
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic condition that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in various organs that can impact the lungs and digestive system – there are many mutations of the condition.
The Hyde’s then received a response from the Home Affairs Department stating that Darragh would need to rely heavily on the health system to have access to an organ donation.
They said he would be a ‘burden to the state’ and rejected their application.The result from their final appeal was received on Tuesday leaving the family in complete shock and unsure of what to do next.
“We had been warned that our application might be unsuccessful, but when we read that we have 28 days to leave, that was what really broke us,” Mrs Hyde said.
“It’s so scary because we live here, we work here. We now need to pack up our lives?”
The letter recommended the Department of Immigration refer the case to the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
“This is a recommendation, what if he doesn’t respond or approve this? Are we meant to wait around and hope or do we start packing now,” she said.
“We sent in submissions yesterday for ministerial intervention and we received acknowledgment of that request.”
During the appeal process, Darragh started taking a medication called Kalydeco – a drug covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – which helps improve hydration and mucus clearance.
“CF is different for every patient. Luckily Darragh had two gene mutations missing which made him eligible to the drug at aged two,” Ms Hyde said.
“It has changed his life in the last 18 months, there is less mucus in his lungs, which makes him less prone to infections and has had no hospital admissions.
“He goes to childcare twice a week. He’s just like every other child.”
The latest response has prompted widespread media attention and comments online.
“Our community has still given us hope – we have about 78,000 signatures on our petition,” she said.
“People have gone straight to Peter Dutton’s Facebook page in our support.
“I’ve been following a similar case with the Kinley family who’s son is deaf. They were recently given a last-minute reprieve from the immigration minister – it gives us some hope.”
Mrs Hyde said Darragh was unaware about the case and the possibility of deportation.
“He’s got no idea that there’s a potential of us leaving – I don’t even want to go there.”