The Recent Deportation and Imprisonment of Filipino Families in Israel
In the early 2000’s, during a deficit of caregivers and medical workers, Israel turned to the Philippines for help -- thousands of Filipino men and women were given visas, brought to Israel, and introduced to the Israeli workforce. Now, after over a decade of labor, they're fighting to keep their families from being sent back to the Philippines.
Over 28,000 Filipinos live in Israel, many of them children born in the country, but not given legal status. This prevents their parents from renewing their work visas, and according to the Times of Israel, 24 families have already been arrested. These families have an impossible decision to make -- either send their children away, or leave Israel altogether.
Sivan Noel, the eldest daughter of two laborers, is one of the many children in danger of deportation. “It would feel like I’m in a foreign place, a place that I don’t know,” she told the Times when asked what she thought about her situation. “Maybe I will meet new friends or have new memories there, but it will not make me forget that I have friends here, and a family.”
The deportations and imprisonments are more than a political problem. Research by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that the deportation of immigrant families, or the threat thereof, can have significant consequences on health and well-being. Children are particularly vulnerable, often suffering “increased mental health issues and behavioral changes that... will have long-term negative impacts on their health.”
You can find more information from the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.