Family Faces Deportation from Australia Because Son’s Cystic Fibrosis Would be a “Burden on Taxpayers”

According to a story from The Irish Times, a couple’s application for permanent residency in Australia has been rejected twice now following an appeal. Anthony and Christine Hyde, along with their son Darragh, face deportation from the country in 28 days. The reason? Darragh, who is only three years old, has cystic fibrosis, a rare disorder that affects the lungs. The Australian government determined that Darragh’s disease would be a burden on the taxpaying citizens of the country.

About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a type of genetic disorder which can have impacts throughout the body, but it is most characterized by the build up of abnormally thick, sticky mucus in the lungs. This mucus becomes a fertile breeding ground and habitat for potentially infectious bacteria. Many patients must take antibiotics for much of their lives. This disorder is caused by mutations of the CFTR gene. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis include progressive decline in lung function, lung and sinus infections, coughing up mucus, fatty stool, poor growth, infertility in males, clubbed digits, and digestive problems. Treatment includes antibiotics and medications or procedures intended to maintain lung function. Lung transplant is an option when lung function declines severely. Life expectancy ranges into the 40s and 50s with good care. To learn more about cystic fibrosis, click here.

Australia: Home Since 2015

The family’s case will ultimately be put before the Australian department of immigration, where the immigration minister, named David Coleman, will make the final decision on the family’s status. While the family is relieved that the case will be brought before minister Coleman, they have little option but to ask him for a reprieve. The family plans to apply for additional visas so they can stay in the country and make their case.

Anthony and Christine first applied for permanent residency back in 2015, before their son even existed. 65,000 people have signed a petition asking that the family be allowed to stay. Part of the couple’s argument for staying is that Darragh is Australian born, making him far more Australian than Irish, the country where Anthony and Christine came from.

Darragh is currently participating in a clinical trial for cystic fibrosis as well. While it is unclear what the family’s fate will be, many hope that the immigration department will work to help the family. And to be clear: people with chronic illnesses are not a burden, and many are alarmed that the Australian government is taking actions that characterize them in such a manner.


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