Refugee advocates are campaigning to stop the deportation of Huyen Tran, a Vietnamese woman who fled her home country by boat due to religious persecution in 2011.
While a hearing on Huyen’s fate took place in Melbourne’s Federal Court on October 1, Refugee Action Collective’s Lucy Honan told a rally outside that Huyen was 32 weeks pregnant when Australian Border Force (ABF) tried to deport her in January.
This occurred three months after she was put into a Melbourne immigration detention centre, having been in community detention prior to that.
According to Honan, a nurse who was on the plane with Huyen protested her deportation, forcing ABF officers to abort the plan.
Huyen's husband Paul Lee told the rally that ABF officers took her into detention while she was pregnant. Huyen has been in detention for nearly a year, and her baby Isabella is now six months old.
Lee said that mother and baby are both depressed. Huyen receives no help in looking after her child. Huyen, a Catholic, was not allowed to take Isabella to church for baptism.
If Huyen is deported, she would be permanently separated from her daughter and husband, who is a Mauritian citizen in Australia on a 457 visa.
Labor senator Gavin Marshall spoke of the hypocrisy of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and home affairs minister Peter Dutton, who said during the marriage equality debate last year that children need a mother and father, but are now willing to separate a mother from her child.
Greens state MP Hung Truong, herself the daughter of a Vietnamese refugee, accused Labor of being in “lockstep” with the Coalition in introducing anti-refugee laws. She called on Labor to commit to changing these laws.
The judge hearing Huyen’s case has reserved his decision.
[Video of the rally can be viewed at RAC Victoria’s Facebook page.]