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Tuesday July 20, 2010 8:16 PM (EST+7)
OPINION: Plan to deport children of foreign workers sign of Israel's inhumanity

Read more: migrant workers, deportation, Israeli domestic affairs, immigration

RAMALLAH, July 20 (JMCC) - Israel is reversing a long-held policy against deporting minors. Hundreds of children and their families are set to be expelled to their parent countries of origin in a move  intended to crackdown migrant worker populations. The policy change will potentially affect Israel’s approximately 250,000 undocumented migrant laborers.

Michelle is the 14-year-old daughter of undocumented migrant labourers from the Philippines. In fluent Hebrew, she sums up the inhumanity of Israel's plans to deport the children of foreign workers. It's like they're taking sheep and packing them, she says.

The criteria that determine who will get residency are rigid and arbitrary. Because of tight age restrictions and an even smaller window to get one's paperwork turned in (parents will have just three weeks to submit documents that might be impossible to obtain) many children will be left out in the cold.
Hundreds of protestors gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to rally against the deportations. The scene was heart rending. Little girls sat on a ledge, swinging their feet, holding a poster that read: Don't deport us. A young boy gripped a sign with the message: We are all Israeli children.

The struggle began last summer when Israel first announced its plans to deport 1,200 Israeli-born children – a number that will probably be reduced by the recommendations of a governmental committee. … The public was outraged. Massive protests delayed the expulsion until the end of the school year.

Israel began bringing foreign workers into the country in the late 1980s, during the first intifada, to replace Palestinian day labourers. Now the state says it wants to reduce its dependency on migrant labourers. But in 2009 – the same year that the government announced its intention to deport the children – the state issued a record number of visas for more to come.

Read more at The Guardian…






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