Immigration authorities on Sunday arrested a Filipino couple and their two daughters, both of whom were born in Israel, ahead of their planned deportation to the Philippines.
The arrests came as part of the Population Immigration and Border Authority’s new crackdown on foreign workers who overstay their work visas.
The family were arrested at their home in Tel Aviv and were seen leaving with packed suitcases, the Haaretz daily reported.
The couple has been living in Israel for 20 years and their daughters, aged 13 and 10, study at the Balfour school in Tel Aviv, the report said.
They were the fourth family with school-aged children to be arrested in the last several weeks.
Regulations stipulate that female foreign workers who become pregnant must send their babies home, as a condition for their visas’ renewal. But many fail to do so and stay in the country illegally doing menial jobs, to give their children a better life than they would get in their home country.
Last week a Filipino woman and her Israel-born teenage son were forcibly deported from Israel after successive court appeals failed to stop the measure.
Rosemary Peretz and her son Rohan were put on a plane and deported under guard, a day after a similar attempt was stopped at the last moment when the mother began to struggle while on the aircraft.
The other two families have been fighting a legal battle against deportation.
The deportation marked first family with school-age children to be forcibly deported after a series of arrests in recent weeks. Around 100 foreign workers have been arrested, most from the Philippines.
Earlier this month migrants, their children and native Israelis staged a protest in Tel Aviv against the policy of deporting Israeli-born children of migrants.
Deportations of foreign workers, whether by agreement or forced, has faced criticism due to the impact it can have on their children who are born in the country, some of whom spend years in the Israeli system.
Some 60,000 foreign caregivers — most of them women — are currently employed in Israel, according to the Hotline for Migrant Workers, an advocacy and rights organization. Half of them are from the Philippines, with much smaller numbers from Nepal (15 percent), India, Sri Lanka and Moldova (10% each) and the rest from various Eastern European countries.
Agencies contributed to this report.