Gov't informing foreign workers of deportations

Families who didn't receive legal status as part of Yishai's criteria on foreign workers' kids will be given month to leave.

February 15, 2012 17:36
2 minute read.
Foreign workers' children protest

Foreign workers children 311 R. (photo credit: Reuters)


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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 leave Israel.

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 emotion.

“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 denied.

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