Mum’s heartbreaking plea to stay with son
A SINGLE mother has made a desperate plea to Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as she faces being torn away from her young son and deported to the Philippines.
Bernadette Romulo from Brisbane made a video asking Mr Dutton to intervene in her case as she has her immigration meeting this afternoon that will decide her fate.
"I'm requesting our honourable Minister Peter Dutton to please have compassion and not deport me and my daughters and be separated from my son, who's an Australian citizen," she said in the emotional footage.
"I've raised him for eight years. I am begging you, please don't take my son away from me."
The 40-year-old mum has lived in Australia for the past 11 years working as an assistant nurse in an aged care facility.
She first arrived here with her daughters and then-husband on his skilled visa. When that marriage ended she began a relationship with the father of her eight-year-old son Giro, who is an Australian citizen.
Their relationship ended in 2010 and, though Giro's father still has partial custody, Ms Romulo was made his primary carer by the Family Court of Australia.
Ms Romulo has been pursuing permanent residency for years but recently had her application denied by the department after three years of waiting.
"My boy cries himself to sleep every night and having nightmares, knowing we will soon be leaving him behind," she wrote in a Change.org petition to Mr Dutton.
The petition has nearly 22,000 signatures from people backing Ms Romulo's plea to keep her family together.
Ms Romulo shared an emotional card that she received from her son as an early Mother's Day gift, where he wrote that she has a heart "better than a universe" and is "smarter than Einstein".
"You are more important to me than anything else. I hope your memory will live on forever," the card read.
"Some people don't like you while others would do anything to make you happy. I'm one of those people."
Because Giro was born in Australia and his father still as partial custody he will not be able to move to the Philippines with his mum and sisters if they are deported.
Mr Dutton was reluctant to comment on the case when asked about it in Canberra on Monday.
He acknowledged there were some cases involving children where he did intervene. But he said there were others, including some subjected to lengthy court battles, where protection was not found to be owed and he had decided not to act.
"People have been given ample notice over a long period of time to prepare themselves to depart, they refuse to depart, then try and string it out through a pointless exercise through court," he told reporters.
"But nonetheless it delays their departure, and then they try and make it look more acute at the end stages."
- With AAP