Filipina Sues Israel for Deporting Her and Son Without Time to Claim Their Belongings

Rosemarie Perez and her son were deported to the Philippines without money or clothes, and forbidden from calling relatives ahead of their arrival

Rosemarie Perez, a Filipina migrant worker, and her Israeli-born son Rohan, at the administrative appeals court, August 11, 2019.
Meged Gozani

A Filipino woman who was deported with her Israeli-born son Monday night is suing the Population and Immigration Authority, accusing it of throwing them out of the country without giving them time to collect money and clothes from their apartment.

The Supreme Court refused to stay their deportation on Sunday, even though the Tel Aviv District Court was slated to hear their appeal against the deportation later in the week. The latter hearing took place on Tuesday, but no verdict has been issued.

The suit, which is seeking 500,000 shekels ($140,000) in damages, argued that Rosemarie Perez and her 13-year-old son, Rohan, were put aboard a plane to the Philippines with only a small knapsack each, which they had taken with them when they were sent to the lock-up at Ben-Gurion Airport to await their deportation. Consequently, they had insufficient money, clothing and other necessities, the suit said, and even the clothing they did have was already dirty after a week in the lock-up.

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The few hundred shekels they had with them isn’t enough for them to live on in the Philippines for very long, the suit continued. Nor was Perez given a chance to inform her family in the Philippines of her impending return. Only thanks to a stranger she met on the plane, who also gave her $50, was she able to contact her family.

Perez implored the immigration agents to let her and Rohan go home and pack their belongings before they left, and also to let her call her relatives in the Philippines, but her pleas were ignored, the suit said. “They weren’t interested in the question of where Rosemarie and Rohan would stay when they arrived in the Philippines – whether they had someplace to go and whether there would be a roof over their heads, or whether they would be thrown into the streets.”

The agents also refused to delay the deportation by a day so a friend could go to her apartment and pack their things for them, it added.

“This isn’t how you treat human beings; people aren’t objects,” the suit said. “It’s not possible to put them on a plane with no money and without minimal personal gear and cast them into an unknown fate. This drastic behavior caused Rosemarie and Rohan severe damage.”

The population authority said Perez had been in Israel illegally for a very long time and “knew the entire time that she was supposed to leave Israel, without needing to be reminded. During this time, she benefited from the ability to live in this country and earn a living from work without fulfilling any civic obligations. At the time of her arrest, she refused to pack her belongings even though she was asked about this by the authority personnel who arrested her.”

Perez entered Israel in 2000 to work as a home nursing aide and worked for her employer until the latter’s death in 2007. Her son was born in 2006, to a Turkish father who returned to Turkey after the birth, and whom Rohan has never met. Until their arrest by the immigration police last week, Rohan studied in a special education program.