Dozens of Filipino migrant workers and their children have been arrested in Israel and are now facing deportation.
The Population, Immigration and Border Authority said the children were either born in Israel or have spent most of their lives in the country, and Hebrew is their first or only language. Last week, three Filipino mothers were jailed and made to sign an agreement to leave the country along with their children by July, i24News Israel reported.
Some Filipino migrant workers have given birth while working in Israel as carers looking after the elderly and others with special needs. However, many of these Filipino children are illegal residents as Israeli law only grants citizenship to children born to Israeli citizens.
A 10-year-old Filipino child whose mother was arrested last Sunday, said he fears leaving Israel as he has grown up in the country and knows nothing about the Philippines. The young boy added that he can’t speak Tagalog and only knows Hebrew.
One Filipina worker said her son doesn’t know anything outside of Israel and wants to remain in the country he considers to be his home.
Migrant workers have come together to form the United Children of Israel, an organization that aims to protect Filipino children from deportation.
“Our children were born and grew up in Israel. Don’t let the deportation happen. Join the fight,” the organization stated in a public appeal.