Court Approves Migrant Expulsion Policy, But Not Unlimited Detention

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel’s High Court has upheld the state’s policy of giving illegal migrants financial incentives to accept deportation to a third country, but ruled that detention of the migrants could not be for indefinite periods, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Detention of illegal migrants who refuse to take the few thousand shekels offered and leave cannot exceed 12 months, a period suggested by the High Court itself in a prior ruling.

Until now, the state had taken the position that the 12-month detention limit only applied to migrants who had applied for refugee status and whose request was not already rejected. Accordingly, indefinite detention had been imposed on those who had not yet applied for refugee status and those whose requests had been rejected.

The Court’s ruling will likely lead to another in a series of Knesset bills aimed at deporting thousands of illegal migrants that will also be acceptable to the judges.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in response on Monday night that Israel’s policy on illegal migrants rests on three pillars: the fence built in the south that “completely stopped the infiltration”; the agreement reached with certain African nations accept deportees; and enforcement. In light of the court’s decision, “we will have to introduce an amendment to implement these agreements,” Netanyahu said.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked announced plans for legislation to allow deportation to other African nations “even without their consent.” “We will fight this war until we reach the necessary results,” said Shaked.

A senior political source told Arutz Sheva that “the High Court is tying the state’s hands from acting to remove the infiltrators.

“The High Court’s national conduct is irresponsible. Don’t be surprised when a decision to increase migrant quotas is handed down,” the source said.

Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri was quoted as saying that “the decision not to allow the state to expel infiltrators against their will is very problematic, and it takes from the state a very important tool, allowing any infiltrator who wants to remain in Israel.”

The identity of the “third country” has been kept confidential by the state, though they say they are Rwanda and Uganda. The need for a third country is due to the fears of persecution if they are returned to their native countries.

The state has provided evidence to show that deported migrants were not being mistreated, and the High Court has been satisfied with that, despite allegations from rights groups to the contrary.