Asylum Hard to Come By for Illegal Migrants

A South Sudanian citizen on his way home in a July 2012 photo. (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)
A South Sudanian citizen on his way home in a July 2012 photo. (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)

A meeting of the Knesset Committee for foreign workers heard government representatives say this week that the number of illegal migrants granted asylum in 2013 was almost nil, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Although the session was called to review the government’s response to the recent High Court ruling ending the policy of detention up to three years pending disposition of their cases, representatives from the Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority (PIBA) had to admit that no plan has yet been formulated.

What the MKs did find out, though, is that only 4 applicants were awarded refugee status so far in 2013, out of 2,593 who submitted requests, according to PIBA data.

The four applicants included a man from South Sudan, a man from Rwanda and a man and a woman whose country was listed as “other.” The four are part of a total of only 26 asylum seekers granted refugee status out of 17,194 requests submitted since 2009, according to the report.

The report stated that in 2013 alone, 864 migrants agreed to leave Israel while they were detained in the Saharonim center in southern Israel, as opposed to 482 in 2012 and 326 in 2011.

The report also shows that Israel has approved a relatively large number of requests to stay in Israel for “humanitarian reasons,” 540 out of 1,133 submitted since 2009.

MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be presented with a proposal that asylum seekers be detained for a year and a half in an open facility.

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