Mother facing deportation over cost of son's autism overwhelmed by public support after Q&A question.

A mother is facing deportation because her son has autism is overwhelmed by public support.

A woman who could be deported to the Philippines with her son has said she is overwhelmed by the level of support she has received since her case was highlighted on national television show Q&A.

But so far the Australian Government has not told Maria Sevilla whether she and her 10-year-old son Tyrone, who has autism, will be allowed to stay in the country.

Ms Sevilla came to Australia eight years ago to study nursing and now works at Townsville Hospital where she looks after stroke victims.

Her application for a visa which is designed to bring skilled workers to regional areas was rejected because of Tyrone’s autism.

boy autism deportation
Maria Sevilla and her 10 year old son, Tyrone, face deportation due to his autism costs. Image: ABC.

The decision by a Migration Review Tribunal cited the “significant cost to the Australian community” of health care for Tyrone.

Ms Sevilla has asked Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to consider her case, and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is preparing a report for his consideration.

Ms Sevilla said she told Mr Dutton in that request after her initial application was rejected that she and Tyrone have private health insurance and Tyrone’s doctor has offered to treat the boy for free.


Related content: Ten-year-old Tyrone may be deported because he has autism.

A spokesperson for Mr Dutton said neither Ms Sevilla nor Tyrone would be required to leave Australia while that happens.

Ms Sevilla said she was saddened to hear her son described as a burden.

“If any parent would hear that your child is being called a burden on society I think they would know how I feel,” she said.

“And because Tyrone can’t communicate, he won’t be able to voice out what he wants to say to those people who try to tell him he’s going to be a burden to society.”

Related content: The extraordinary challenge and joy of raising a child with autism.

Ms Sevilla’s case attracted national headlines after a friend of Tyrone’s raised it on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday.

Darwin boy Ethan Egart used to live in Townsville, where his mother studied nursing with Ms Sevilla, and the two boys went to the same after school care.

In his question, Ethan asked: “If he can get along with us and we can get along with him, why does he have to leave?”

Ethan described his friend as a “good kid”.

“He was a nice kid, his mum was really nice and I just don’t think he should get deported,” he said.

“I just thought it shouldn’t happen to a kid who has autism.”

Related content: A new study has proven (again) there is no link between MMR vaccination and autism.

Since Ethan’s intervention on Monday, an online petition asking Mr Dutton to allow the pair to stay has had an extra 40,000 signatures.

Ms Sevilla said she hoped Mr Dutton will allow her and Tyrone to stay in Australia.

“I am hoping that he will give us a compassionate decision, that’s our last option actually,” Ms Sevilla said.

Ethan said he hoped the community’s support would help sway Mr Dutton.

“I hope this changes his mind and he just doesn’t get deported,” he said.

“Make your decision, I just hope that you make the right one.”

This post was originally published by ABC News.