Hundreds of social activists and foreign workers on Tuesday night protested in Tel Aviv against the dozens of arrests and deportations of foreign workers' children over the past two years.
"We live in constant fear of the possibility that we will get a knock on the door," said Esther Tukalu, a 42-year-old work migrant from the Philippines.
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Tukalu arrived in Israel 13 years ago as a caregiver. A year-and-a-half ago she tried to regulate her status, but is still waiting for the Interior Ministry's response; in the meantime, she falls under the status of an "illegal alien."
'Living with constant uncertainty.' (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
Tukalu has two young children that were born in Israel, and now she is worried her whole family will be deported back to the Philippines.
"We are living with uncertainty, without knowing what's going to happen tomorrow," she told Ynet. "Employers are scared to hire me, and I scrape by doing the odd cleaning job. The money is not enough to cover our expenses," Tukalu added.
'Unreasonable delay of justice'
Knesset Member Ilan Ghilon (Meretz) said at the rally that "the interior minister's conduct on this matter is an unreasonable delay of justice.
"The families live in fear while the shadow of deportation hovers over them," Ghilon noted, adding that he will address the minister on the matter.
In August 2010 the government decided to call off the deportation of foreign workers and their children if they fulfill a series of requirements. Since the decision, some 700 families have filed a request to regulate their status in Israel according to the new criteria, but in vain.
The interior minister's bureau issued a response saying: "Immediately after the decision, the minister appointed a committee that will review all the requests for stay permits. Some 700 requests have been submitted to the committee, and each is being considered in depth, which naturally takes time.
"Due to the minister's request to handle the matter urgently in order to prevent the suffering of the families, the committee's decisions will be submitted for the approval of the minister in the upcoming weeks."
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