A BUDERIM family living under the threat of deportation has been buoyed by a groundswell of support from Maroochydore parish and the Sunshine Coast community.
The fate of the Passeggi family’s battle against being deported rests with Federal Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock.
Stella Passeggi said only a ministerial decision could keep them in Australia after a misunderstanding led to their case being closed by the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT).
She and her husband, Horacio, and their three youngest children, Tomas, 23, Rosina, 18, and Mariana, 16, were to be deported back to Uruguay once that happened.
Since mid-June, the family has been on a Bridging ‘E’ visa which is very restrictive and does not allow them to work.
Musgrave Lawyers principal, Alan Musgrave, who has been helping the Passeggis since then, said that visa was the ‘last stage’ before removal or deportation from Australia.
Not knowing from one fortnight to the other if they are going to be allowed to stay in Australia – their home for more than six years – had placed immense strain on the Passeggis.
‘You can imagine it’s very emotional,’ Mrs Passeggi said. ‘You cannot plan your life for next week. It’s very distressing.’
More than 2300 Sunshine Coast residents either wrote letters or signed petitions in support of the family being allowed to stay in Australia. The daily newspaper in the area also launched a petition.
Stella Maris Parish at Maroochydore is supporting the family in various ways.
Parish priest, Fr Joe Duffy, said the parish raised $5000 for the family at a barbecue last month and a church collection raised a further $2000.
Stella and Horacio’s son, Bernie, 25, is not affected by the deportation order because he married an Australian woman two years ago.