Something is wrong with the Immigration Department
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 foster care.
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 appropriate.