Tasmanian priest joins push to stop deportation of schoolgirl
Fr Terry Southerwood of Launceston has joined the push for a schoolgirl facing deportation to be granted permanent residency in Australia.
17 year old Ruth Cruz moved to Hobart with her sister three years ago after being kidnapped by drug runners in El Salvador.
Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon said the Federal Immigration Minister has agreed to grant Miss Cruz a bridging visa until a formal decision on her residency is reached.
Cruz has been denied a visa by immigration officials on two separate occasions.
Fr Southerwood said he has written to the Minister, Philip Ruddock, asking him to intervene on Ms Cruz's behalf.
"The Minister, when her appeal arrives on his desk, will rule according to his head but what of his heart," he said.
"I suppose I'm not asking him to break any laws but he does have it in his power to enable this girl to stay and it seems from what I have read and heard she has the support of the Tasmanian community."
Barns sees point-scoring in pushing Ruth's case (The Mercury)
Shy girl captures a state's heart (The Mercury 12/7/03)
Ruddock riled as a little girl waits (The Mercury 12/7/03)
Cruz continues battle for residency (ABC 15/7/03)
Ruth boost: Council backs young refugee (News Interactive 15/7/03)
17 Jul 2003