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High Court ruling advances due process in granting family reunion rights for unaccompanied children

The Australian Greens have welcomed the High Court's decision today to let an Afghan teenager bring his family to Australia after authorities claimed his mother was no longer his immediately responsible for him.

"The court's ruling that the Immigration Department made a 'jurisdictional error' shows the department did not follow proper process," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"In cases dealing with unaccompanied minors and young people, the department's communication and processes must be improved.

"Sayed Abdul Rahman Shahi was a child when he arrived unaccompanied in Australia and applied for a visa for his family to join him. By the time the department made its decision, nine months later, he had turned 18 and DIAC refused the visa.

"The court ruled it was wrong for the department to claim Shahi's mother was no longer his "immediate family" simply because he had turned 18.

"The trauma that these young asylum seekers like Shahi have experienced is only compounded by bureaucratic nonsense such as this.

"Once again, this demonstrates why there needs to be an independent legal guardian for unaccompanied children. The minister has a conflict of interest in being the person who decides how long they are detained, what visa they are given and whether they can be reunited with their mum and dad.

"The Greens are also disappointed that the Coalition continues to lie about asylum seekers. It is not illegal to seek asylum, despite what Tony Abbott may say.

"Based on current numbers, it would take more than 15 years to fill the MCG with asylum seekers. Australians are tired of the Coalition's scaremongering on refugees and asylum seekers, which shows the Opposition is weak in its tactics and is only interested in a race to the bottom."

 

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