Who is a Status-less Child?
A child born to Asylum Seeker parents, migrant workers, or undocumented parents, is labeled as status-less. This child has no Israeli ID number, and lacks rights and protections from the Israeli state.
Their parents, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants are in legal limbo and in constant fear of deportation.
About definition, numbers, and laws regarding the status-less community in Israel.
Status-less children are particularly vulnerable, and face many obstacles in their everyday lives.
Universal State Health Law:
Does not apply to status-less children. They are granted with an optional subsidized health insurance. Due to economic hardships, some parents are unable to insure their children, and they live uninsured.
According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Israel is obligated to grant rights to minors living in its territory basic rights, including the right to education, regardless of civil status. Although most of the children of asylum seekers are indeed legally integrated into the educational system, in Tel Aviv, a majority of children are segregated in separate classrooms or schools, increasing the educational and social gaps between them and their Israeli counterparts.
According to the Director General of the Ministry of Welfare from 2016, children, regardless of legal status, are meant to be treated by the social services department of the local authority in which he resides. However, the reality on the ground is different. Not every status-less child receives the psycho-social services he needs. Since Social Security Laws do not apply to the status-less community, their children are not entitled to Social Security benefits. This reality is particularly difficult for families with children with special needs.
Common challenges that characterize this group:
Limited parental presence, due to the obligation to work long hours.
Wandering and unsafe environments and exposure to unsafe situations.
Uncertainty about their future.
Impact of traumatic life circumstances and ongoing exposure to stressful situations experienced by parents.
Language and literacy gaps.
Significant developmental, motor, academic, and emotional deficits and gaps.
Second Generational Trauma.
A recent study examining second generational trauma in Unitaf children conducted by the University of Tel Aviv, found that child and mother mental health are strongly associated.
The study examined the mental health of 123 Unitaf mothers, and found a high trauma exposure among mothers, with 70% of mothers suffering from PTSD, and 32% suffering from Complex PTSD. The study found a direct link between a mother’s mental health, and their child’s behavior and ability to learn.
We work towards minimising harm through parental guidance programs, dyadic therapy, and educational interventions.
The status-less community in Israel
According to data from the Population and Immigration Authority, there are currently about 31,000 asylum seekers living in Israel. These are individuals who were forced to flee their homes, due to violence, persecution and war.
Israel pursues a policy of non-exclusion and provides them with "temporary protection” from Eritrea and Sudan. Although asylum seekers reside legally in Israel, they are denied basic rights. Universal State Health Law and Social Security Law do not apply to them, limiting their access to welfare and health services.
The consequences of neglecting Asylum Seekers impacts primarily the most vulnerable group among them: children, women, Human Trafficking Victims of Sinai Torture camps, the sick and people with disabilities.
Migrant workers represent an extremely vulnerable population group within Israeli society, one whose rights are constantly trampled upon by both their employers and the state authorities.
The Israeli government views migrant workers as temporary residents who are only in Israel in order to work, and who must at all costs be kept from “taking root” in Israel. This approach results in draconian policies toward migrant workers that severely violate their right to family, among other basic rights.
A majority of migrant workers are from Asian countries, and work in caregiving, agriculture, and construction. There are 97,743 migrant workers in Israel today.
Migrant workers or tourists whose formal status is either revoked or expired. This group is composed of people from The Philippines, Sri Lanka, West Africa, South Africa, and India.
According to the Population and Immigration Authority, there are a total of 76,866 undocumented persons in Israel.
Source: ACRI >
Data from Population and Immigration Authority, July 2020