Migrant workers who give birth can stay in Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Interior Ministry cannot deport migrant workers three months after they have given birth, the country’s Supreme Court ruled.

According to the voided regulation, a migrant worker who is residing legally in Israel will lose her permit should she become pregnant or give birth, and she must leave the country and may only return without her newborn.

In the verdict issued Wednesday, Justice Ayala Procaccia wrote that "Forcing a woman to choose between her employment, while realizing her legitimate economic expectations, and her right to motherhood, does not settle with the ethical and legal-constitutional perceptions of Israeli society."

The current regulation, said the verdict, "is infringing on the foreign worker’s constitutional right to parenthood."

In 2005, the petition against the regulation was submitted  by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Kav Laoved, Hotline for Migrant Workers, Naamat, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Last month, Israel began deporting migrant workers residing illegally in Israel. Two women from the Philippines and their two babies were arrested and taken to a detainment facility at Ben Gurion Airport. They were deported less than three days later.

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