Israel Set to Start Deporting Foreign Workers

Aid organizations have told those in danger of deportation to continue with their daily lives and keep sending their children to day care and school as usual.

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For most Israelis, the phrase "after the holidays" refers to a return to routine. For many foreign workers, however, it means living in fear of being caught by authorities and expelled from the country.

Children of migrant workers attend a rally in Tel Aviv - August 14, 2010Credit: Reuters

Starting this week, families with children who don't meet residency criteria are now in danger of being deported.

"I'm very worried about what will happen on Sunday, but I can't just stay at home," says Erica, mother of a girl born in Israel who is just shy of 5, the minimum age for receiving residency. "I thought a lot about whether to send her to day care or to keep her at home with me, and I've decided life must go on."

Vincent Ozoma, the Nigerian citizen whose family Haaretz has been following for months, is waiting for a response from the Population and Immigration Authority over whether the application for residency of his daughter Justus has been accepted. "People are a little stressed about what'll happen," Ozoma said. "It's sad that people who have lived here for years now find themselves in these situations."

Aid organizations have told those in danger of deportation to continue with their daily lives and keep sending their children to day care and school as usual.

"It's unacceptable that even though MKs and ministers have expressed their opposition to deporting these children, we've reached this moment," said Rotem Ilan, founder of the organization Israeli Children. "People must understand that deporting these kids will affect not only them and their families, but us as a country and society. It will be an indelible stain."

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