Foreign workers children 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Monday approved residency status for the
families of 257 children of foreign workers.
The decision leaves out 118
families, whose requests were rejected. A further 260 had their cases delayed
for the time being.
Yishai: We will delay deporting migrant-workers' children
Four-year-old Filipina girl and her mother to be deported
The ruling follows a government decision in August
2010 to set a series of criteria for allowing children to stay in Israel,
including that their parents entered Israel legally and they are enrolled in the
Israeli school system.
Children must be in Israel for at least five
years, and either have been born here or have arrived before age 13.
decision meant that an estimated 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 Interior Ministry said Monday that the decision
was made following months of work and in keeping with the recommendations of the
government committee. The ministry called on those who don’t fit the criteria to
begin preparations to leave Israel in the very near future.
meeting of the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers on Monday, committee head
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) decried the deportations of children who are “Israeli
in every way” and called for an end to the “revolving door” policy of bringing
more foreign workers to Israel and breaking up foreign worker families that are
already in the country.
He also called on the Interior Ministry to
coordinate with NGOs in helping locate those families who must be notified of
their impending deportation.
Also during the meeting, the head of the
Population Authority’s foreign workers branch said that they would not carry out
arrests for the time being of parents of children whose requests for legal
residency are still pending, and that their employers will not face penalties
ether. These parents have often faced arrest and the inability to work while
their children’s cases are pending, causing them what they say are hardships in
maintaining their households.
Following the announcement of Yishai’s
decision, the NGO Israeli Children slammed the ruling, saying that Yishai “has
not decided to let 257 children stay in Israel, he decided to deport 950
“This is a sad day for Israel when only 257 of the children
who were born and raised in this country will be allowed to stay,” the NGO’s
press release continued.
One of the 260 whose case has been delayed is
Evelyn Diaz, 17, who came with her mother to Israel when she was 8 years
Diaz said she fits the criteria from August 2010, but has still not
received word on whether or not she will receive legal status in
“It’s a very hard thing to constantly be in limbo, never knowing
what they’re going to decide,” Diaz said, adding that she has spent the past
year-and-a-half working as a dental assistant to support her mother and infant
brother, after her mother’s work visa ran out this past year.