Australian Immigration department removal of citizen was unlawful

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Friday, October 7, 2005 An independent investigation, headed by former Victorian Police Commissioner Neil Comrie, has revealed that Australian immigration department officials wrongfully deported the Australian citizen Vivian Solon to the Philippines. Ms Solon was deported in March 2001, after falling under suspicion as an illegal immigrant while she was in hospital after an accident. She was still in poor health when she was deported, and her five year old son was left behind in foster care. The mistake was not officially recognised until April 2005.

Senior officials knew of the mistake in July 2003, but neglected to correct it. In the end, it was only through the efforts of her former husband, Robert Young, who persistently pursued her case that it was eventually acted on. Some senior officials are being investigated on this issue, however, the ministers responsible for the Department -- now Amanda Vanstone, but prior to October 2003 it was Phillip Ruddock -- denied any responsibility. When asked if he felt any responsibility Mr Ruddock answered "No, none at all."

This incident is one of a number of immigration controversies that have occurred in Australia. Cornelia Rau, an Australian citizen, was accidentally imprisoned in a detention centre when the immigration department suspected her of being an illegal immigrant. The report indicates that 20 other Australian citizens have also been unjustly imprisoned by the immigration department.

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