Hundreds of students, parents protest arrests of migrants’ children in Tel Aviv
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Hundreds of students, parents protest arrests of migrants’ children in Tel Aviv

Three kids were jailed in recent days along with their parents, and another student’s mother was detained ahead of planned deportation

Students protest against deportation of their classmates who were arrested alongside their parents by immigration authorities, outside Gabrieli school in Tel Aviv, November 7, 2019. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Students protest against deportation of their classmates who were arrested alongside their parents by immigration authorities, outside Gabrieli school in Tel Aviv, November 7, 2019. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Several hundreds students and parents demonstrated in Tel Aviv Thursday against the arrests and planned deportations of migrants.

The protesters rallied against the arrest of the Indian mother of a sixth grade student at Gabrieli Carmel School, himself born in Israel; the arrest of a third grade student at HaGalil School along with his Nigerian mother; and the arrest of an Indian couple and their Israeli-born daughters, aged one and seven.

The latter were released on bail Friday.

Participants in the demonstration outside Gabrieli Carmel School waved placards and chanted “Shame!” and “The people demand not to deport!”

Authorities say they are enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Activists and lawyers for migrant families have sought to prevent the deportation of children who have grown up as Israelis, and have bristled at the jailing of minors.

עכשיו בתל אביב: שוטרים נכנסים לבית ספר גבריאלי לשלוף ילדים שנדונו לגירוש. והילדים בחוץ שצועקים על השוטרים. מעורר צמרמורת. לא יאומן.

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Alon Matos‎‏ ב- יום חמישי, 7 בנובמבר 2019

The Population and Immigration Authority said it arrested 45 illegal immigrants over the past two days. They are set to have hearings on their cases before final decisions are made on whether to deport them.

Seventeen-year-old Ilan Kohavi told the Walla news site that sixth grader Myron, his pupil in scouts activities, is “an Israeli boy. It’s very strange for me that he’d be deported. He goes to school, to youth groups, he’s like any other kid. I believe he’d grow up to be a model citizen.”

Vered Windman, head of the National Council for the Child, called on Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in a letter, to halt the detention of children “who have done nothing wrong. The immigration status of the parents must not be a reason for jailing children.”

On Sunday a Tel Aviv appellate court canceled the deportation orders of two Israeli-born children of Filipina workers and their mothers. In its verdict, the judge said immigration authorities failed to properly hold a pre-deportation hearing to evaluate whether the expulsion order takes into account the best interests of the two children.

Last week hundreds of students, their teachers and parents had protested outside Ramle’s Givon prison. calling for the release of the four.

The arrests came as part of the Population Immigration and Border Authority’s new crackdown on foreign workers who overstay their work visas.

Earlier this year, Israel for the first time ever deported Israeli-born children.

The deportation 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 education system.

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.

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.

JTA contributed to this report.

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