'Illegally staying': Israel defends deportation of Filipina worker, son

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 13 2019 05:21 PM

Filipino children carry a banner which reads in Hebrew "Don't deport me" during a protest against deportation in Tel Aviv, August 6, 2019. Hundreds of people demonstrated in Israel against the deportation of Filipino children born in Israel from migrant workers but without any legal status. Gil Cohen-Magen, AFP

MANILA - The Israel Embassy in Manila defended Tuesday the deportation of a Filipina mother and her Israeli-born teenage son from the Jewish state, saying it was "according to the Israeli law."

"According to the Israeli law, a foreign worker is allowed to live and work in Israel up to 5 years. It is expected from every foreign worker to abide [by] the law and to leave the country upon the expiration of his working permit," the embassy said in a statement.

"In the recent case, the OFW (overseas Filipino worker) was illegally staying in Israel for 12 years, after the expiration of her working visa. The case was scrutinized by the Supreme Court of Israel and has been approved," it said.

Rosemarie Perez was arrested by immigration officials along with her 13-year-old son Rohan 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 back to the Ben-Gurion airport where they were put on a flight to Bangkok for onward connection to Manila, Franco said.

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.

- with a report from Agence France Presse