THE COMMUNITY in Raphoe are rallying around a mother and her three children who are facing deportation.
Qiuying Liu and her children Neal, aged nine, Michael, aged seven and Bruce, aged five, have been sent letters telling them they are to be deported to China. Ms Liu, who runs the Chinese takeaway, Wok Inn, with her husband, Kai, has been living in Ireland for 12 years and her children were all born here.
Their case was due to come before the Garda National Immigration Bureau today but this has now been put back to September. However, the family are extremely worried that they could be deported at any time.
They have started an online petition which has gathered over 1,500 signatures so far and the family are appealing urgently to the public for support. In an interview with the Donegal News, Ms Liu spoke of the constant worry and fear that her children will be sent to a country where they don’t even speak the language.
“We are really worried that the children will be sent away because the children don’t speak Chinese, they only speak English. They always communicate in English so if they go back they can’t communicate or go to school there because they can’t speak. They have never been to China, they don’t know what China is like. They only know Ireland as their home.”
She said it would be very difficult for the children to live in China because of the huge differences in culture, education, the environment, the language and for safety reasons.
Two of the children have sensorineural hearing loss and are receiving the vital support they need through their school, Raphoe Central National School, supports they would not receive in China. The children are making great progress and the move back to China would be detrimental to their education given their special needs.
Although the children were born in Ireland because they were born after 2005 they are not automatically entitled to Irish citizenship. Ms Liu applied for residency in 2012, however her application was refused. Her husband Kai has been living in Ireland for 17 years. Ms Liu said they pay taxes, are not relying on the Government and do not receive any child benefit or social welfare. She added that if they are allowed to stay in Ireland they won’t take social welfare or child benefit in the future and that the family have never been in trouble with the Irish government.
The children are well embedded in the community and are involved in the local scouts, boxing, and the homework club. Letters of support for the family have flooded in from all sections of the community including Raphoe Parish Priest, Fr Eamonn Kelly, Dean of Raphoe Cathedral, Reverend Arthur Barrett, Principal of Raphoe Central National School, the children’s teachers and the Tidy Towns Committee. In his letter Fr Eamonn Kelly said Qiuying, her husband Kai and the children have made Ireland their home.
“They love this country and have at this stage little in common with China. I appeal that they may be allowed to continue to live here.”
In his letter Rev. Barrett said the three boys are an integral part of the school family. He said: “I appeal to those in whose hands the future of these three young boys lies, to allow them to remain in Ireland with their family. I urge you to give their case further consideration.”
Principal of Raphoe Central National School spoke of the progress the children have made in school and said deportation would be “traumatic and damaging to the social and emotional development” of the three children. In their letter Raphoe Tidy Towns described them as “a young family who contribute in a most positive way to our community, our economy and are respected by all who know them. They are quiet and respectful people providing a good and reliable service in Raphoe town.”
Donegal TD Pat the Cope Gallagher confirmed he has been liaising with the family and said he is doing everything he can to assist. The petition called ‘Please help Li’s children’ can be signed online at www.change.org and will be presented to Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan.
Posted: 10:44 am April 23, 2019