Newborn refugee baby to remain in Oz immigration limbo

Published:  21 Jan at 6 PM
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The future immigration status of a newborn child and his Tamil refugee mother is in doubt due to legal wranglings over the imprisonment of 50 Tamil refugees at an Australian immigration centre.

As he was born on Australian soil, the baby is by right an Australian citizen, but his mother, Ranjini, is part of a group of Tamil refugees imprisoned by Australian immigration authorities after their arrival. The reason given was that the group failed an assessment by the secretive Australian Security Intelligence Unit.

No further reason has been provided by ASIO, and the group remains detained despite a Sydney High Court decision in favour of its release. Ranjini was being held in the detention centre along with her two other children when she gave birth last Tuesday, and has decided to keep her new baby with her although he has Australian nationality by birth.

Ranjini’s husband will only be allowed to visit his wife and new son under immigration’s visitation rules, which do not include overnight stays. Independent reviewer of adverse security-based assessments Judge Margaret Stone is said to have sent a letter advising refugees who failed the scrutiny to reapply in January, but was unavailable for comment, according to ABC News.

Ranjini’s lawyer, David Manne told ABC that the family are thrilled with their new son, and insisted the family should be released from detention. He added that the government should release Ranjini and her children immediately as an act of decency, humanity and basic common sense.

However, Manne is afraid that the issue will remain under the control of the ASIO outside the reach of the law. He considers the government’s solution of allowing the refugees to reapply is flawed as it provides no assurance that the assessments will be overturned should they prove to have been defective.
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