Grandfather’s plea to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison: `Let my little angel stay’

  • MARCH 13, 2014 12:00AM

Ari Illingworth, 4, with grandad Mark Illingworth and mum Eunsil ‘Chloe’ Park. Picture: Annette DewSource: News Limited


A FAMILY has made a last-minute plea for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to overturn an order that will force a four-year-old Brisbane girl out of the country.

Ari Illingworth was born here, making her an Australian citizen, and started Prep this year but her South Korean mum Eunsil Park, known as Chloe, has been ruled to have no right to remain following the breakup of her relationship with Ari’s father in 2010.

Ari’s heartbroken grandparents have called on the Minister to use his discretionary powers to allow them to stay so their “Angel Girl” can grow up an Aussie.

“No one seems to care about what is best for the child in all this,” Ari’s grandfather Mark Illingworth said.

Ms Park, 31, has until next Monday to buy a one-way ticket to South Korea and must be on a flight within a week after that. If she fails to do, officials have warned her she can be taken into detention immediately.

“She is frightened out of her brain,” Mr Illingworth said.

Ms Park has no home or job to go to and Mr Illingworth said Ari, who is almost 5, would be going to an unfamiliar culture. The family fears both mum and daughter, as the single-parent family would be stigmatised and shamed and discriminated against in South Korea.

“Her whole life has been in Australia.”

“It’s still a matter of shame to be a single parent and it would show up on her documentation when she applied for work,” Mr Illingworth said. “And as a child of mixed race, Ari would be ostracised or ridiculed.

“As a grandfather, I am out of words and it beggars belief that this could happen,” Mr Illingworth said. “If they won’t allow a woman gainfully employed and paying tax and rent with an Australian child and supportive Australian family to stay in Australia – then just who would be allowed to stay?”

Ms Park came to Australia eight years ago as a student and met Mr Illingworth’s son Brett 11 months later. They split up in 2010.

Mr Illingworth said he and Ari’s grandmother Sharon Smith were distraught at the thought of losing the little girl.

“We are really close. I want to do the things that grandparents do with their grandkids, taking her to the beach to build sandcastles and all that.”

Ms Park, who came to Australia eight years ago as a student, has been working for the past three years and Ari has settled well into her Prep class at Macgregor State School, where she has lots of friends. Mr Illingworth has offered to provide an assurance of support for them if required.

“I want to stay in Australia with my daughter,” Ms Park said. “This is our home. I really don’t know what to do.”

Mr Morrison rejected a previous application to intervene in the case, and the Department of Immigration last month refused to forward a second request to his office, saying nothing had changed, but Mr Illingworth has now made a final desperate appeal directly to the Minister, and local federal MP for Forde, Bert van Manen has also made representations.

Mr Morrison’s office last night declined to comment.

In his latest letter to Mr Morrison, Mr Illingworth says: “Minister this case has slipped through the cracks in the system and we, the grandparents, implore you to let her stay in Australia to keep doing what she is doing. Working and bring up a beautiful child.”


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