Brisbane mother facing deportation, separation from son granted reprieve
Australian immigration and asylum Brisbane mother facing deportation, separation from son granted reprieve
Bernadette Romulo, who was to be deported to the Philippines, has been given a bridging visa
A Brisbane mother facing separation from her son has been granted a last-minute reprieve from deportation.
Bernade tte Romulo told Guardian Australia she had been granted a bridging visa by the home affairs department, a decision that prevents the imminent separation of her family.
Romulo had previously been given until 11 July to return to the Philippines. Her eight-year-old son Giro must stay in Australia because of custody arrangements with his father.
The assistant home affairs minister, Alex Hawke, decided on Wednesday to grant the bridging visa to Romulo to give her family âtime to finalise other outstanding mattersâ, the home affairs department said in a statement.
Romulo told Guardian Australia she was âoverwhelmedâ and grateful for the opportunity to stay in Australia. She hopes to ultimately reapply for permanent residency.
On Monday afternoon, Romulo received the phone call advising her she would be granted a visa. Just hours earlier, she and Giro had been in tears speaking with a school chaplain about their impending separation.
âThe word that he used was âfearfulâ. Tears fell from my eyes. He said âIâm fearful that my mum might go at any time and leave me behindâ,â Romulo said.
âWeâre very very happy though. My kids are very happy. Weâre so grateful for this decision.
âI wonât let the minister down. I still believe in our government that they have compassion in cases like ours.
âWeâre sorting through everything but itâs very overwhelming at the moment.â
Romulo, who originally arrived in Australia on a 457 visa, gained the support of more than 33,000 people in a petition in which she claimed Giro âcries himself to sleep every night ... knowing we will soon be leaving him behindâ.
In May, Hawkeâs office said he only intervenes in a ârelatively small number of casesâ.
Romulo said she had not had the opportunity to celebrate, but intended to throw a public party for her supporters if she can gain permanent residency.
âMaybe the prime minister can be there,â she said.
Romulo has lived in Brisbane for more than a decade and has been on bridging visas for the past five months. Her complex status in the country was the result of two relationship breakdowns.
She came to Australia in 2006 with her then husband, who was on a 457 visa, and two infant daughters. After their relationship ended, Romulo had Giro with a Filipino-Australian man. She left him in 2012.
Romuloâs visa was linked to her former husband.
Since ending her relationship with Giroâs father, Romulo said she has worked hard to provide for her three children as a single mother.
âI managed to give my children a comfortable life, I worked hard for them just to keep this family together,â she previously told Guardian Australia.
Australian Associated Press contributed to t his reportTopics
- Australian immigration and asylum
- Asia Pacific
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