Shortly after the scandal over Cornelia Rau (a mentally ill Australian
who was in detention for 10 months), another case gets some media
attention: Vivian Young/Alvarez/Solon.
She is an Australian citizen born in the Phillipines, who also suffers
from a mental illness. From the news reports, the sequence of events
seems to be:
- In 1984, Vivian moved to Australia to live with her new husband.
- In 2001, she was involved in a car accident in NSW. While being
treated at Lismore Hospital for her injuries, she lodged a
citizenship application and the staff contacted the immigration
officials. She gave her name as "Vivian Alvarez".
- On July 17, 2001, the Queensland Department of Families finally
notified police that "Vivian Young" was missing.
- Days later, she was deported to the Phillipines -- neither the NSW
or Qld police noticing that she was on the missing persons list.
Apparently she was pushed onto the plane in a wheelchair, still
suffering from head injuries.
- In 2003, an immigration official discovered the mistake while
looking through the missing persons list. It doesn't seem that any
action was taken at this time.
- This month, the mistaken deportation becomes public. This is the
first time that the family is notified -- four years after the
deportation, and two years after the mistake had been discovered.
The government says they don't know her location, but are doing
everything in their power to find her.
Among the Australian family, she left behind a son who is still in
Rather than being an isolated case, it is quite likely that there have
been other questionable deportations -- this one getting more attention
because the person in question is an Australian. This case has racial
overtones too, since it is unlikely that a white Australian would have
been deported under the same circumstances. Despite all this, the
Minister for Immigration does not feel that a Royal Commission would be