After years of waiting for their status formalization petitions to be answered, more than 10 families of migrant workers and their children face deportation after the Population and Immigration Administration
(PIA) rejected their requests, giving them only 15 days to appeal the decision.
Migrant workers aid organizations accused Eli Yishai
of making a "last ditch attempt" as interior minister to "deport as many migrant workers' children as possible."
Hundreds of migrant workers families have been waiting for more than two and a half years for the State's decision regarding their status, with the threat of deportation hanging over their head.
Among the families whose petitions were lately rejected is Alma, a Filipino
migrant worker and her daughter Nicole.
Nicole, to be deported by PIA decision
"My daughter will celebrate her ninth birthday this week; she was born and has been living in Israel
for all her life," Alma said.
"She answers all the government's criteria," she claimed. "But despite this, Eli Yishai's present for her birthday is deportation from her homeland."
The migrant workers families' petitions followed a government decision from August 2010, which outlined criteria for their status' formalization.
Migrant worker escorted for deportation (Photo: Reuters)
The criteria include: Children who studied over the last year in a State school; children registered to go to school in the next year, from first grade and upwards or finished the 12th grade and have been living for at least five years in Israel; children who were born in Israel or entered it before they were 13.
Out of an estimated 1,200, hundreds of families residing in Israel illegally then petitioned
a special committee to discuss their status according to the government's criteria.
In January 2012, a few months after receiving the committee's report, Yishai announced that he accepts its recommendations and approved about 400 petitions and rejected almost 300.
But about 450 families are still waiting for a decision to be made, and are now fearing deportation
without ample time for an appeal.
According to Rotem Ilan, founder of the Israeli Children Organization, the latest PIA activity is typical behavior from Yishai: "As usual, Yishai is finding every excuse to deport migrant workers' children who were born and raised in Israel.
"This time he's crossing the line and trying to make a last ditch attempt to deport even those children whose status is to be legalized as per the government's decision."
Reut Michaeli, CEO of the Migrant Worker Hotline, added: "Yishai is acting like a thug, which shows his fear of not completing the job he has undertaken – to deport as many children as possible, despite the government's decision to let them stay, behind the public's back."
The PIA stated: "The data presented is far from reality. Nevertheless, petitions transferred to the exceptions committee will be discussed individually."
Eli Yishai's office have not given a response.
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