Filipina Migrant Worker, Israeli-born Son Deported Following Legal Battle

Supreme Court refused to halt deportation of Rosemarie Perez, whose work visa expired when her son was born in the country

Rosemarie and Rohan Perez in court.
Meged Gozani

A 13-year-old boy and his mother, a Filipina woman who had come to Israel on a work visa and whose son was born in Israel, were deported from Israel Monday overnight, as immigration authorities push to deport more families of migrant workers.

They boarded a flight to Bangkok and are scheduled to connect to Manila from there.

A Tel Aviv administrative tribunal ruled on Sunday that the two, Rosemarie Perez and her son, Rohan, could be deported to the Philippines. Their lawyers sought to have the deportation ruling stayed by the Supreme Court, but Justice Alex Stein ruled that there was no basis for a stay.

Population and Immigration Authority officials initially put them on a flight leaving the country at 10:35 P.M. Sunday evening, but they were later taken off the plane and held at a detaining facility at Ben-Gurion Airport.

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Dozens came to support them after they were taken off from the Hong Kong-bound flight. Rohan told one of them: "They just put us on the plane with nothing. We haven't done anything bad. I told them I'm begging to stary here."

The Perez's case is one of several being pursued by immigration authorities in an effort to target Filipina women who came to the country on work visas that expired when they had children born in Israel. Rosemarie and Rohan Perez had no legal status in the country.

Lawyers Carmel and Boaz Ben Zur initially sought a stay on Sunday to the district court, followed by teh request to the Supreme Court, but both courts refused to intervene in the deportation. 

The Tel Aviv District Court was due to hear their appeal on Wednesday.

Rohan, a student at the Bialik Rogozin school in Tel Aviv, had been due to enter eighth grade. He and his mother were arrested last week.

This summer, the Interior Ministry's Population and Immigration Authority is planning to deport dozens of Filipina workers whose visas were not renewed after they had children in Israel, although the Filipino community in Israel fears the actual number will be larger. Although they were born in Israel and many of them speak only Hebrew, none of the children have legal status in the country.

In their appeal, Carmel and Boaz Ben Zur described Rohan as suffering from "social and psychological difficulties, for which he was getting treatment and counseling." He had been placed as a child in a special education setting "and over the past year he has been getting psychological treatment from the Health Ministry mental health center," the lawyers said. "In the opinion of the treatment professionals in this center – officials of the State of Israel – deporting him  will cause him irreparable damage.”

“Deporting a 13-year-old boy from one day to the next who was born in Israel and lived here all his life is inconceivable, especially after the state hasn't acted for many years," the lawyers asserted.

Immigration inspectors arrested the two last week. Rosemary Perez’s friends said she has been working in Israel for more than 20 years.