Kopika Murugappan comforts her sister Tharnicaa before she was flown to Perth for medical treatment (Image: AAP/Change.org Australia)

After more than 1000 days in immigration detention, and nearly two years on Christmas Island, a Tamil asylum seeker family could be allowed to return home to Biloela this week.

Releasing the family would be an embarrassing backdown from the Morrison government, which has remained adamant about keeping them in detention and pursuing their deportation to Sri Lanka.

But the government is facing a backbench revolt, and widespread support for the family in the community. The only thing holding them back is the political challenge of managing the optics, making an end to the family's incarceration look like a dose of compassion.