Catholic mother and child released from detention centre

Huyen Tran, Paul Lee and baby Isabella in 2018 (Refugee Action Collective)

A Vietnamese Catholic asylum-seeker and her two-year-old daughter have been released from a Melbourne immigration detention centre. Source: SBS News.

Huyen Thu Thi Tran was yesterday reunited with her husband Paul Lee on his 34th birthday.

Isabella has lived at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation centre (MITA) in Broadmeadows since her birth in March 2018.

Mr Lee lives only 15 minutes away but has not seen his wife or daughter since March when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped visits.

Ms Tran said she was called unexpectedly by staff at the centre to say she was expected to be granted a bridging visa the same day. She was so happy for her family to be all together.

Ms Tran, 31, is Catholic and says she fled religious persecution in rural Vietnam in 2011.

She landed on Christmas Island by boat and was detained for more than a year before being moved to community detention. Isabella was not technically detained but her mother was placed in MITA in November 2017 when she was four months pregnant.

Mr Lee, who is from Mauritius and is on a 457 visa, hoped he’d be able to sponsor Ms Tran’s visa after they got married in 2017 but learned it was not possible because she arrived in Australia by boat. He is in the process of applying for permanent residency.


Two-year-old girl and mother released after years in Australian immigration detention (By Rebekah Holt, SBS News

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