31 Mar 2017

Baby gets reprieve from deportation

6:34 am on 31 March 2017

A baby who was issued with a deportation notice has won a year's reprieve to remain with her adopted family in New Zealand.

Baby feet

The baby was only a month old when she arrived in New Zealand Photo: 123RF

Baby BC, as she is called by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, faced deportation back to her birth parents' home in Tonga.

BC arrived from Tonga when she was only a month old with her birth mother and older siblings.

They returned to Tonga but she was left with her uncle and aunt, who have been unable to have children and wanted to adopt her.

Immigration New Zealand refused her a further visitor visa and she became liable for deportation.

However, the Immigration and Protection Tribunal was told her adoption case was before the Auckland Family Court and had been delayed because it was waiting for a report from social services in Tonga.

The tribunal ruled it would be in the girl's best interests to remain with the relatives she was most closely bonded to, pending the decision on the adoption order.

She was described by her adopted grandparents as "adorable, clever, cheerful and adventurous".

"The appellant is a 16-month-old baby and entirely dependent on her adoptive parents," the tribunal said.

"It would be unjust and unduly harsh for her to be deported from New Zealand pending completion of the adoptive parents' application to the Family Court for an adoption order."

The girl had been in the exclusive care of her adoptive parents for over a year, baptised at their church and she had celebrated her first birthday with them and family and friends, the tribunal said.

"It would break the adoptive parents' hearts if the appellant was separated from them as they love her so much. It would also be very uncomfortable for the child to be taken from the two people that she knows best."

The tribunal said it was sceptical of the couple's claim that they did not intend to adopt the child before the man's sister and family left Tonga to come to New Zealand.

But it was up to the Family Court to decide whether the couple would be allowed to adopt the girl, it said.

"As a child, she is not responsible for being brought to this country, or for any misrepresentation made to Immigration New Zealand in order to obtain entry to New Zealand or for her remaining here unlawfully," it said.

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