We strongly believe in supporting individuals, groups and non-profit organizations unable to afford legal representation and counsel. As a result, our partners, associates and interns contribute broadly to improve the accessibility of legal services to those in need and promote various community oriented, philanthropic and charitable activities. Our vast pro bono activity has been recognized by both Dun’s 100 and the Israel Bar Association.
Much of our recent focus in the pro bono arena has been on the plight of the children of migrant workers, focusing on their human right to remain in Israel, the only country they know as home. Led by Dr. David Tadmor, our team continues to represent the children in their fight against deportation and, more importantly, for equality.
In the summer of 2019, the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration began the systematic arrest [with a view to deportation] of the families of migrant workers, including children of school-age. Tadmor Levy & Co. took upon itself to fight against the authorities, whose policy, for the last 15 years, has been to avoid enforcement proceedings against migrant-worker families with school-age children.
Tadmor Levy & Co. has undertaken vast pro bono work in the individual representation of five families and the proceedings initiated against them. The courses of action we are pursuing are intended to prevent the deportation of these families during a period of ‘transition government’ and in contravention of the Authority's longstanding policy; to prevent minors being imprisoned; to ensure fair procedure for the children and their families before the authorities, including their right to a hearing and their right to legal representation in the examination of the deportation proceedings.
We began with an initial petition to the Supreme Court on August 22nd, 2019, requesting the court implore the Authority’s aforementioned enforcement policy. At the center of the petition was the claim that the arrest and separation of the school-age, migrant-worker children from their families is an unlawful change in the Authority’s policy during a transition government, and in the absence of oversight of their decision. We maintained that this change is in contravention of the appropriate administrative law, is devoid of regulation and is severely damaging to the children. On September 5th, 2019 the petition was rejected outright by Judge N. Handel, Judge Y Amit and Judge M Mazuz due to a failure to file proceedings, as the petitioners had not applied to the Administration prior to submission.
Following the rejection of the petition, Tadmor Levy began to manage the individual cases of the migrant-workers’ school-age children who had been arrested by the Authority. The efforts to fight for minors being held in custody began with a family that included a 9-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl who had been in custody for 3 weeks, whilst we fought the legal battle for their release. Until this stage, the Authority and the various judicial bodies had intrinsically viewed decisions to arrest and hold families until their deportation.
To that end, the firm submitted a number of bids to the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, the Custodian Audit Court, the Court of Appeal and the District Court. In parallel, we appealed to the Immigration Authority and the Ministry of Justice, and on October 10th, 2019, following our firm’s continued work, and in response to the former Deputy Minister of Justice, Mrs. Judith Karp’s letter, the Ministry of Justice published guidelines instructing the Immigration Authority to consider the best interests of the child when making decisions regarding deportation, and to ensure that the child’s wishes are taken into account. The Authority was instructed to conduct a hearing before the General Director of Border Inspection for any child over the age of 12 and to consider ways of hearing the preferences of children younger than 12.
On December 3rd, 2019, following Dr. David Tadmor’s appeal, the Ministry of Justice further refined their directives. In their letter, the Ministry explicitly stated that “the incarceration of minors is a last step in the process of ensuring their deportation”. Furthermore, the Ministry stressed that a child’s best interests must be emphasized at any hearing with the General Director of Border Control.
The judgments given in these proceedings paved the way for the distinction between separation of custody and deportation, and led to the understanding that the principle of the best interests of the child and Israeli law do not correlate with the detention of minors. Subsequently, the appellate courts began ordering the rapid release on bail of additional families arrested and a decision would be made on their deportation by the end of the legal proceedings. Following these decisions and the Ministry of Justice guidelines, the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration has, to date, curbed the incarceration of minors.Currently, the pinnacle of the struggle focuses on the right of children and their families to a defense and to representation before the Authority prior to a decision being made with respect to their deportation from Israel. The procedure is currently conducted by way of police investigation, without the minors’ and their parents’ defense being heard, as required by law, without being allowed to exercise their right to representation for the argument and in the absence of a fair trial by the Authority.
On December 25th, 2019, Tadmor Levy submitted a plea to the Supreme Court, imploring the court demand the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration to conduct lawful hearings, as required, preserving the minors’ right to a plea and representation, for any decision to be made in the best interests of the child, and of the families’ rights to representation. The motion was dismissed due to alternate relief in the form of a request for administrative appeal, which was submitted to the Supreme Court in the name of a further family we represent, whose case is to be heard before a panel of three judges on May 20th, 2020.
Due to the procedures we are championing before the Supreme Court, the proceedings of several families have been suspended pending a court ruling as to how the proceedings are to be conducted.