State won't deport over missed deadline

Foreign worker families who meet criteria can stay beyond August 1 without permits.

foreign workers' kids 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
foreign workers' kids 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The state promised the High Court of Justice on Tuesday that a foreign worker family lacking residential status with children who meet the criteria for remaining in Israel will not be deported just because it cannot obtain a document required by the Interior Ministry by the deadline set by the government.
According to the cabinet decision of August 1, which paved the way for some of the estimated 1,200 children of parents currently living in Israel without a permit to stay indefinitely, families whose children met the government criteria are required to register at the offices of the Population, Immigration and Border Authority by August 31.
The cabinet decision granted the families another 21 days to obtain the documents they did not have in their possession at the time they submitted their applications to remain in Israel, that is until September 21.
As a result of these deadlines, five human rights organizations – Israeli Children, Hotline for Migrant Workers, the Association for Human Rights in Israel, the Israel Religious Action Center and Workers’ Hotline – petitioned the High Court. They demanded that the Interior Ministry extend the deadline to give those eligible to remain three months to apply for residential status and get hold of all the necessary documents, saying that the time allotted by the government was insufficient.
Their main concerns were that some of the families would not learn about the cabinet decision until their children returned to school in September and that it could take many months for families coming from certain countries to renew their passports.
However the state’s representative, attorney Aner Hellman, promised that “so long as a family has received confirmation that their application is being examined, the state will not be able to deport them” during the examination process.
He added that the main point of the deadlines set by the government was to establish a framework for the application process. The state also wanted an idea of how many families had children who were eligible, on the face of it, to remain in the country, and how many families with children were not and could be deported before their children began a new school year in Israel.
Hellman said the Interior Ministry was well aware that some countries take four or more months to issue a new passport, and that this would be taken into account.
“To the extent that a family is lacking a document, we will find a solution for that particular family, and I don’t even want to be limited to 90 days [the maximum the petitioners had requested – D.I.),” Hellman said.
The court was satisfied with the state’s promise. However, it added in its ruling that should it turn out that some families had not heard of the government decision and therefore submitted their applications after August 31, the Interior Ministry would not reject them out of hand but would examine each one to assess on an individual basis why their applications came in late.
Attorney Yonatan Berman of the Hotline for Migrant Workers told reporters he was satisfied with the outcome of the hearing even though the court formally rejected the petition.