Migrante International fully stands in solidarity with Filipino migrant children in Israel who are now facing detention and deportation. We feel despair that young Filipino children have been victimized twice by an unjust cycle of forced migration. Due to the scarcity of opportunities in the Philippines, their parents left for Israel to experience a better life for themselves and for their children. They belong to millions of overseas Filipinos who were stricken by the Philippine government’s labour export program wherein Filipinos are marketed to foreign countries so that they can keep the economy afloat through their remittances and the various state exactions imposed by state institutions.
We lament that once again, these families are being forcibly evicted anew from a place which for many years they have learned to love as their home. Once they get back to the Philippines, these children and their families will have to adjust to an even harsher life that may eventually drive them to search for greener pastures in other countries where they are likely to face the same challenges they have experienced in Israel. Such is the cycle of forced migration that hounds not only Filipino migrants in Israel but likewise their compatriots in other countries.
As advocates for migrants’ rights and welfare, our position is firm that migrant families and children do not deserve to be treated like outcasts. Migrants are not criminals. No person should be declared illegal on the basis of their nationality or status and they deserve to be given the chance to integrate in society, most especially children who were born and have lived all their lives in the host country.
Importantly, it is incumbent that the roots of forced migration in the Philippines like landlessness among farmers, unemployment, homelessness, and the absence of national industrialization be addressed by the Philippine government so that no Filipino would ever have to leave their country out of necessity and hopelessness.
Lastly, we extend our gratefulness to the United Children of Israel (UCI) who have come to the aid of these Filipino children. We appreciate the support they provide to Filipino migrants in these trying times. It is our utmost hope that advocacy work for the rights and welfare of migrants and children continue to flourish in Israel, the Philippines and in the rest of the world.