This is what happens when communities and ordinary people get to know refugees as people first, rather than being conned into a state of fear by political rhetoric.
Dr Mark Weller and 9 of the 16 Bangladeshi men facing deportation from Kilcoy (photo credit: Caboolture News)
After nearly three years, the Kilcoy ‘Bangladeshi Boys’ as they are affectionately known, have become valued members of this small rural community. These sixteen men are immigration success stories, with all of them having worked, paid taxes and volunteered in countless community activities and events.
For several years, the 16 Bangladeshi asylum seekers have been living and working in Kilcoy, about 100 kilometres north-west of Brisbane.
The men, aged between 24 and 32, have been employed by the Kilcoy Pastoral Company under bridging 'E visas' while their applications for refugee status were assessed.
In January the Immigration Department denied seven of the men temporary protection visas.
One man has been granted a TPV while another has been granted a different visa. The remaining seven members of the group are waiting for their applications to be assessed.
The Kilcoy community has now issued a heartfelt plea to federal immigration minister Peter Dutton to use his powers to grant the men permanent residency. (Story details courtesy of ABC RN Breakfast, Caboolture News and Change.org)
A Change.org petition has been started. We invite you to click the link below, to sign the petition and to read some more of the media coverage of this story.
Petitioning Minister of Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton