July 23, 2012 (TSR) – Israeli Interior Ministry is backing legislation that would keep deported migrants from legally appealing their status until they were already outside the country ‘s borders.
Aid workers contend that the bill, submitted on Sunday, aims to reduce the number of appeals, and thus, unfairly circumvents accepted judicial avenues to fight their expulsion.
“They’re trying to make everything worse for them and make sure there’s no migrant left in Israel,” Orit Marom, a prominent aid worker, told Xinhua Monday.
“There are people here that deserve to be recognized as refugees and be allowed to stay, but the chances are getting slimmer after this bill,” Marom said. “Who will come back here and appeal after they’ve already been deported? No one. And that’s what they’re counting on.”
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Marom argued that “The Interior Ministry thinks everybody’s trying to fool them and forgets that peoples’ lives are on the line, peoples’ lives that are in danger.”
However, according to the ministry’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA), the bill will save time and energy.
“Implementing this revision would allow those who are refused residency and left Israel, to file an orderly request. This way, most of the appeals will become superfluous and we’ll save ourselves the legal proceedings,” a note in the bill explained.
Aid workers also complain that the bill enables bureaucrats to have the final say on whether asylum seekers’ lives are in danger.
According to the proposal, the bill will grant “enforcement powers” to immigration authority inspectors and they will be able to search migrants, even if they have valid papers.
“The Interior Ministry is seeking to adopt the American model, but is ignoring the fact that in the American legislation on immigration partners and family of citizens granted residency get rights and benefits,” Oded Feller from the Association for Civil Rights told the Ha’aretz daily.
“Here they chose to adopt, yet again, just the prohibitions, without the benefits.”
This move joins other efforts by the ministry to narrow the migrants’ steps.
According to another bill introduced last week, immigrants who wire money to their families abroad would face up to six months in jail or a 7,250-U.S.-dollar fine.
Ministry sources told the Ynet news site last Sunday that the bill is meant to combat financial incentives for undocumented migrants to enter the country illegally; some of them come to Israel to earn money and wire it to their families.
“Reducing the economic incentive is an effective tool to deal with the phenomenon of infiltration. In recent years, the state of Israel has been dealing with a wave of infiltrators from Africa, who amount to more than 60, 000,” a ministry statement read.
According to PIBA’s estimates, there are around 50,000 migrants in Israel, mostly from African countries including Eritrea and Sudan.
In recent weeks more than 300 asylum seekers from Africa were detained by authorities in detention facilities. Another 300 Sudanese migrants were flown back to Juba, South Sudan’s capital.