Hundreds of people are expected to attend a protest Monday against the impending deportations of dozens of foreign workers residing illegally in Israel.
The protest, slated for 5:00 p.m. at Tel Aviv’s Habima Square, is expected to draw dozens of women who face deportation, their children, as well as teachers and fellow students from 12 different schools where the children of the illegal foreign workers are enrolled.
The women facing deportation arrived in Israel legally with work visas, often times together with their husbands. They remained in the country even after their visas expired, however, working either as caretakers or house cleaners.
Many remained in Israel even after their husbands returned to their country of origin – in most cases, the Philippines. In many instances, the couples’ children also stayed in Israel, remaining with their mothers and learning in Israeli schools, despite lacking any legal status in the country.
Since 2012, women with children over the age of five were allowed to remain in the country, despite their lack of legal status.
This February, however, the government ended this policy, returning to the pre-2012 policy of deporting all illegal workers and their children.
Dozens of these female foreign workers have been arrested in recent months as part of the latest government crackdown on illegal immigrants overstaying their visas.
Upon their arrest, the illegal immigrants are required to agree to voluntary deportation. For those women with young children, the deportations are delayed until after the end of the school year, which is set to close at the end of June.
The deportations are slated for July and August, ending just before the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Some 100 women and children – nearly all citizens of the Philippines – are slated for the latest round of deportations. Nearly 1,500 children born to foreign workers – both legal and illegal – from the Philippines are currently enrolled in Israeli schools.
Today’s protest is just the latest in a series of demonstrations against the deportations.
On June 11th, dozens gathered outside of the Prime Minister’s Residence to protest the upcoming deportations.
Last Monday, 600 people gathered in Tel Aviv to call on the government to permit the illegal foreign workers to remain in Israel.