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Israeli Activists and Celebrities Urge the PM to Avoid Deporting Migrant Worker's Children

On March 10, 2010

A decision on the fate of the 1,200 children of migrant workers in Israel is expected soon. By the end of this month an inter-governmental committee will present its recommendations on the subject to the Minister of Interior. In an unusual move, the committee officials invited members of Israeli migrant and children's rights organizations to present their point of view on the deportation.

Ahead of the expected decision, Israeli activists, socials workers, doctors, students, celebrities and educators sent a petition to Prime Minister Netanyahu and other ministers urging them to avoid deporting the children of migrant workers. In the past, many politicians voiced their opposition to the deportation, including President Peres. Following a public outcry, the deportation of the children that was planned for August 2009 was postponed for three months to give the committee time to study the issue and present their findings, and diffuse the political pressure on the government.

Those children were born in Israel and know no other reality than living there. They speak Hebrew, go to Israelis schools and have Israeli friends. Contrary to Israel's obligations according to international law, Israel does not provide the same social rights to migrant children as it does to Israeli children who are citizens. According to Israeli law, once migrant workers give birth to children in Israel, they must leave with their child or send the baby to their family back home and continue their employment.

Yediot Ahatonot reported about such a case yesterday of a Filipino caregiver who gave birth to a baby girl 18 months ago. She was forced to send her daughter back to her family in order to be able to continue to work in Israel.