JERUSALEM—Israel has deported Filipino migrant worker Rosemarie Perez and her Israeli-born teenage son Rohan after 11th hour legal appeals failed, a children’s rights group and authorities said Tuesday.
She is among some 600 workers from the Philippines who activists say could face deportation over a loss of residency status.
They include those who breached the conditions of their residency by starting families in the country.
The families and supporters say deporting the children to a country which they have never seen and whose languages they do not speak is a cruel policy.
Perez and Rohan were arrested by immigration officials last week for remaining in the country illegally.
They had been taken to Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on Sunday night after an appeals court upheld their deportation, Beth Franco of the United Children of Israel (UCI) association said.
But they were taken off the plane after their lawyer requested an urgent hearing on their status in a bid to have them remain in Israel.
On Monday evening, they were escorted to Ben-Gurion airport where they were put on a flight to Bangkok for onward connection to Manila, Franco said.
Israel’s immigration authority confirmed in a statement they had been deported and that all court appeals had been exhausted.
The mother entered Israel legally in 2000 as a foreign laborer and worked as a caregiver.
Perez’s employer passed away seven years later, and Perez stayed in Israel illegally ever since, working in cleaning.
The mother says she didn’t leave the country after the end of her employment because she wanted her son, who studies at Bialik-Rogozin school in Tel Aviv, to live in Israel and that she has no relatives in her country of origin.
Last week, migrants, their children and Israeli supporters held a protest in Tel Aviv against the policy of deporting Israeli-born children of migrants.
Many of the 28,000—largely Christian—Filipinos in Israel arrived to work as caregivers and home help, but according to UCI, some 600 families could now face expulsion.
Their visas were conditioned on the requirement that they do not start a family in the country apart from certain exceptions, the association says.
The issue has particular resonance in Israel, where there are long-term fears about maintaining a Jewish majority in the country which was founded as a national homeland for Jews.
This is the third overseas Filipino worker’s (OFW) family with a school-age child to be arrested in this operation, which began three weeks ago.
The two other families are mother and her 12-year-old son, Ophresina and Michael James Cuenca, who are still waiting for a decision in their case and Geraldine Esta and her two children, 10-year-old Khean and 5-year-old Kathryn, whose deportation is planned for the middle of September.
Esta is planning to appeal to the District Court in Tel Aviv.
The detainees are forced to sign documents saying they need to leave the country with their children by the end of the school year in exchange for their freedom. (Arab News, YNet News)