Filipino Father of Three Israeli-born Children Faces Deportation

Ricky Sangrines lost his work visa when his employer died; his kids remain in Israel with their mother, who is also from the Philippines.

Nir Hasson
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Ricky Sangrines with Evangeline and their three children. Credit: Courtesy
Nir Hasson

A Filipino worker who was arrested at his daughter’s day care center is slated to be deported even though his three daughters were born and study in Israel. The Interior Ministry claims there is no proof that he is the girls’ father.

Ricky Sangrines, 39, arrived here in 2003 as a nursing care worker; that same year he also met his girlfriend Evageline, also from the Philippines. He worked for a number of employers in Jerusalem, but in 2011 his last employer died and he was left in Israel without a valid visa. The couple has three daughters, aged 8, 5 and 2. The two older ones are enrolled in school in Jerusalem; they speak Hebrew and have never visited the Philippines.

Their oldest daughter was only 3 years and 7 months old on the day specified in the law passed a few years ago that regulated the status of foreign workers’ children. The law states that a child had to be at least 5 years old to attempt to obtain legal status for her family. Two weeks ago, when Sangrines brought his youngest daughter to day care, he was arrested by inspectors from the Immigration Authority. Since then he has been in custody and at a hearing it was decided that he would be deported.

Last week attorney Yotam Ben Hillel appealed the deportation, bringing professional opinions from psychologists and letters from staffers at the older girls’ school, testifying to the trauma the father’s arrest has caused his daughters and saying his deportation would “crush” the family.

Ben Hillel also asked to submit a request to a humanitarian committee to consider regulating the family’s status. He said the ministry refused to accept the request on bureaucratic grounds, because the deportation process had already begun. “On the one hand, they claim we didn’t submit the request, on the other hand they blocked us from submitting it,” said Ben Hillel.

The Interior Ministry claims, among other things, that there is no proof that Sangrines is the father of the girls, even though the couple submitted pictures of Sangrines with each of them only a few days after their birth, as well as hospital documents listing him as the father.

The Interior Ministry said, “Mr. Sangrines has lived and worked in Israel for several years, the last four of them illegally. From the information the authority has, there is no proof that at issue is a father and his daughters and in any case, the girls and the mother are also living in Israel illegally. On February 8, 2015 a lawyer came to the Population Authority office and asked to submit documents for obtaining humanitarian status. The office told him he had to submit an orderly request in accordance with regulations, and contrary to the false claim, he was not blocked from submitting the request. Three days later the attorney decided to submit an appeal to the appeals committee in Tel Aviv, and the issue will be discussed in that forum.”