An administrative appeals judge on Tuesday affirmed the deportation order issued against Filipina Geraldine Esta, and her two children, Khean, 10, and Katherine, 5, but ordered them released from custody in exchange for a 15,000-shekel ($4,200 bond).
Parents from Khean’s school pooled the amount needed to release the Estas from the Yahalom facility where they were detained for over a week.
Esta’s lawyer, Haya Mena, would appeal the decision and seek to obtain resident status for her clients on humanitarian grounds.
Esta came to Israel in 2004 as a custodial nursing care provider, but lost her work visa after becoming pregnant and having a child in Israel, a violation of the country’s law.
Khean has just finished fifth grade at the Hallel school in Ramat Gan. His sister is attending kindergarten in the Tel Aviv suburb.
Last week, Khean’s classmates and the classmates’ parents demonstrated in front of the detention facility at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
At a hearing in the case on Sunday, judge Ilan Halabga said “regular human beings and juveniles do not belong in a detention facility” and asked how the government’s decision to detain the children squared with the children’s well-being.
In response, Shiran Turgeman, who represented the government, said humanitarian concerns do not provide a basis for delaying the deportation, but added that the case could still be evaluated after the family leaves the country.
This summer, the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority is planning to deport dozens of Filipina workers whose visas have lapsed after they had children in Israel, although the Filipino community in Israel fears the actual number will be larger.
Despite being born in Israel, the children do not have legal status in the country.
In 2006 and 2010, the government made two decisions granting legal status to the children of foreign workers.
Now, children who did not get legal status at that time due to their age, but were not deported and have gone to school in Israel, are seeking to avoid deportation to their parents’ country of origin, where they have never lived. (Haaretz.com)