Immigration bungle apology


FORMER Lismore woman Vivian Alvarez Solon is one of 247 people to receive a letter explaining why they were wrongly detained by Australian immigration authorities.

The Commonwealth and Immigration Ombudsman has criticised the Department of Immigration for errors made in the detention of 247 people.

The Federal Government referred the cases to the Ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, following the wrongful detention of Ms Alvarez Solon.

Professor McMillan this week released his final report into the deficiencies of the Immigration Department, saying many of the people detained were either Australian citizens, permanent residents or lawful visa holders.

He said in many cases the department failed to pay attention to detail and that there was a lack of ongoing review for those in detention.

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said a project team had been formed within the department to carefully review Prof McMillan's analysis to determine what remedial action may be appropriate, including compensation.

Ms Alvarez Solon was the focus of national attention in 2005 when it was revealed she had been wrongfully deported to the Philippines in 2001.

She was born in the Philippines, but was an Australian citizen at the time of her deportation.

Shortly before she was deported, Ms Alvarez Solon was involved in a mysterious accident and was hospitalised in Lismore.

It is unclear exactly what happened, but she was found in a stormwater drain between Uralba and Magellan streets. As a result of the accident, Ms Alvarez Solon lost a lot of her mobility.

On May 12, 2005, she was found in a Filipino hospice after a priest recognised a photo of her on television.

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