Students, unionists and community members protested outside the immigration department on April 11 against the threatened deportation of Kinley Wangchuck, an 18-year-old hearing-impaired student who lives in Queanbeyan, NSW.
Wangchuck’s family, who have lived in Australia for 7 years and are seeking permanent residency, was told in early April that their son did not meet Australia's migration health requirements and had to be deported as otherwise he would be a “financial burden” on the country.
Will Edwards from the National Union of Students (NUS) Disabilities Department called the protest, which also heard from Hersha Kadkol, NUS national ethnocultural officer, Cooper Forsyth from the Campus Refugee Action Collective and Stuart Washington who spoke on behalf of United Voice ACT branch secretary Lyndal Ryan.
Speakers called on immigration minister David Coleman to use his discretionary powers to let Wangchuck stay.
Below is an edited version of the speech given by Forsyth.
We must stand in solidarity with our Indigenous brothers and sisters as they continue to face the violence of settler colonialism. This is especially important because it is the logic that underpins this violence that we are here to confront today: the logic of white supremacy.
This logic is latent in every breath wasted by our politicians justifying torturous prison camps for refugees as a humanitarian measure, and becomes brutally candid every time migrants and refugees are labelled as rapists, paedophiles or a sinister threat to Australia’s health system or people’s jobs.
These things only make sense if we consider migrants to be far less valuable than ourselves.
Deporting an 18-year-old boy because of his hearing impairments only makes sense if we have complete contempt for the life he lives, or wants to live.
These things do not make sense.
In fact, they should make us sick to our very core. This is horrifyingly racist, horrifyingly ableist and utterly, utterly shameful.
And this is our law.
We need to fight racism against refugees and migrants in every form it takes because, as long as our institutions and our political class are imbued with illusions of a white Australia, we will see more futures lost to deportations and more lives destroyed by degradation and imprisonment.