Deportation of Filipina Worker and Israeli-born Children Halted

The freeze will remain in effect until further proceedings on petition filed by the family's lawyer

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Geraldine Esta with her children Kiyan and Katherine, July 2019.
Geraldine Esta with her children Kiyan and Katherine, July 2019. Credit: Moti Milrod

A Tel Aviv court decided on Thursday to freeze the deportation of Geraldine Esta, a migrant worker from the Philippines, along with her two children, a 10-year old boy and five-year old girl.

The family's deportation will be put on hold until further proceedings are held based on the petition filed by their lawyer.

Esta, who was arrested in July with her two children, entered Israel legally in 2004 to work as a caregiver.  In 2009 she gave birth to her son Kiyan and her work visa was not renewed. A migrant worker who becomes pregnant in Israel is not able to renew their visa, and if they do not leave the country of their own accord, they can be arrested and deported.

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According to the Population and Immigration Authority, Esta spent years in the country illegally and never applied for a status change. Two months ago, the Appeals Tribunal approved the three's deportation.

Following the decision, attorney Haya Mena, who filed the petition on behalf of the Esta family along with attorney Adi Lustigman said: "I am glad that Rosh Hashanah has received a positive line that currently leaves the family in Israel. So we hope, the court will decide to keep the family in Israel permanently. "

"The children were born in Israel, know only the Hebrew language and Israeli culture. Any other decision would have caused irreversible and disproportionate harm to children in accordance with the expert opinion submitted to the court," Mena added.