Israel to Deport Hundreds of Filipino Kids

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JERUSALEM — "I don't know what we will do tomorrow. I want to stay here," cried a Filipina mother, in reaction to the Israeli government's recent decision to deport some 400 children of immigrant workers, mostly small children who were born in Israel, speak Hebrew and have never seen their parents' native countries.

Many of those affected by the drastic move are offspring of undocumented Filipino workers, who mostly work as caregivers. About 200,000 migrant workers in Israel are mostly from the Philippines, China and Africa, reports the Filipinoreporter.com. Thousands have overstayed their visas for many years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the new policy was intended to stem a flood of illegal immigrants, whose children receive state-funded education and health care benefits, and to defend Israel's Jewish identity. Critics, including some government officials, said the decision would punish children by sending them to impoverished or insecure nations that their parents had left in search of better lives in Israel.

The new policy is aimed at children of foreign workers who entered Israel with a valid visa or permit but have stayed on illegally and then started families. Under Israeli law, the children are not automatically granted residency status.