By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
CHIEF migration officer Solomon Kantha is concerned about reports that the Australian government will deport a longtime Australian resident back to PNG because of habitual criminal behaviour.
Australian media reported that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had cancelled 39-year-old Daniel Love’s permanent residency, locked him up in immigration detention and was preparing to deport him to PNG.
Love is of mixed Aboriginal and PNG parentage and had been living in Australia since he was five years old.
However, Kantha said yesterday that as this person had grown up in Australia we would be concerned about any decision to deport him to PNG “until we also establish his legal status if he is a PNG citizen”.
“I will advise our immigration counterparts in Australia to liaise with us so we can also establish if he is a PNG citizen or has lost his PNG citizenship. We will be very concerned about humanitarian issues this person will face in PNG if he still is a PNG citizen as there is no programme to support deported persons or even stranded foreigners in the country and cannot impose on the State any obligation to support such a person for the rest of their life when they are deported if they are removed to PNG.
“The humanitarian grounds of the person must be considered if he is confirmed to be a citizen but and has no family and never been to PNG.”
Australian media reported that Love, a father of five, served 12 months for assault occasioning bodily harm and had an extensive criminal history. His visa was cancelled under the character-test section of the Migration Act 1958.
Dutton’s office did not respond to Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s calls or written questions about Love’s case. In a statement to the ABC, the Department of Home Affairs said: “Visa cancellation decisions are not taken lightly, and involve careful consideration of a number of factors.
“The department is aware of this case. Due to privacy reasons, and the fact that the matter is before the courts, the department will not be providing any further comment.”
Meanwhile, his lawyer Rod Hodgson, who has filed a case against the deportation, said that Love’s case deserved another look.
“He wasn’t in a position to know what the paperwork was as a five-year-old immigrating with his family from PNG, and he wouldn’t be the first person, Aboriginal or otherwise, who didn’t have their paperwork in order — as we’ve seen in the course of the last year or two in different contexts,” he said.
His sister Violet said that Love settled with his family in Australia when he was five, but never obtained citizenship.
“He’s very proud to be Australian, and he’s very proud of his Aboriginal heritage.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK