Foreign workers children 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) on Wednesday began
informing foreign workers and their children whether they have the right to stay
in Israel or will face deportation in the next month.
In late January,
Interior Minister Eli Yishai approved the requests of 257 foreign workers
families whose children were born in Israel. Yishai further ruled that another
118 families will face deportation. The status of an additional 260 families is
still up in the air.
Yishai’s ruling is part of a saga that began with a cabinet
decision in August 2010 that set a series of criteria for allowing children to
stay in Israel. Criteria included, among others, that their parents entered
Israel legally and that they have been in Israel for over 5 years and are
enrolled in the Israeli school system.
The decision meant that some 1,200
children who did not fit the criteria would face deportation. Parents of 701 of
these children issued requests for residency, which have been examined by a
special government committee set up to handle the matter. The rest of the
children and their families have been the subject of ongoing deportations since
the decision was made.
PIBA spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said that beginning
on Sunday, those families whose appeals were approved will receive Israeli
identity cards. She added that those families who did not receive legal status
but have a child currently enrolled in the Israeli school system will have until
July 15 to leave. Those whose children are not enrolled will have one month to
Haddad said that they expect to finish notifying all of the
families about the status of their claims in the coming days, and that the 260
cases still being debated will be closed soon.
Rotem Ilan of the NGO
Israeli Children said that she has been swamped with phone calls from concerned
parents worried about their status.
“No one wants to think they’ll be one
of those told they cannot stay,” Ilan said, adding that since there have already
been numerous deportations of families the fear is not an abstract
“Maybe for Eli Yishai it’s just numbers, but each one of these
numbers is a child,” she added.
In a statement posted online Tuesday
evening, the organization said that along with the Hotline for Migrant Workers,
they will open a call center for families in need of assistance, which will
offer advice and information on obtaining legal assistance if their cases are
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