After Years of Effort, Filipino Illegal and Her ‘Israeli’ Son Deported

YERUSHALAYIM -
An El Al airline plane taking off at the Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A Filipino worker and her 14-year-old son were finally deported from Israel, after years of legal battles and months of media uproar. Rosemary Perez and her son Rohan were flown out of Israel late Monday, on their way to the Philippines – a country Rosemary has not lived in for over a decade, and that her son has never seen.

That long-running stay in Israel was the basis of a major campaign by Perez and her supporters that she and her son be granted residency permits to remain in Israel. However, most of the time she has been here – over 12 years – were without any visa at all. Perez lived in Tel Aviv, where the municipality has a policy of accepting all children into its schools, including the children of illegals, and as a result Rohan grew up immersed in Israeli culture. He speaks only Hebrew, and his mother and supporters said that this was reason enough for her to be granted a permit to remain.

The Immigration Authority said that although it sympathizes with her situation, Perez was knowingly violating the law and had had a great deal of time to prepare for her return to her native land. Instead, it said, she chose to conduct a media campaign designed to pressure authorities to allow her to remain.

In addition, it said, Perez had several times violated agreements made with the Authority that she would leave of her own volition if given time to prepare.

On Sunday, attorneys for Perez made a last-ditch effort in Appeals Court to stay the deportation order. The appeal was rejected, and Perez was deported Sunday night. However, she and her son were removed from the plane before it took off because of disruptive behavior. The deportation order was finally fulfilled Monday night.