Yishai: We´ll work to deport of all illegal Africans (JERUSALEM POST) By BEN HARTMAN 04/17/12)
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Israel will work to rid the country of all illegal African migrants
and is willing to pay countries that agree to absorb them, Interior
Minister Eli Yishai said Sunday.
Speaking at the 5th Ramle Conference, Yishai stressed the importance
of the border fence and detention facility being built in Israel’s
south, adding that the intention was not only to prevent more
migrants from entering Israel, but “to remove those 58,000
infiltrators who are already here. Look what is happening in Eilat,
Arad – and it’s coming to Ashdod and Netanya. We all know what’s
happening in Tel Aviv.”
At the conference, sponsored by the right-wing organization
Komemiyut, Yishai also said he expected that a wave of migrants would
seek to enter in the coming months before work on the fence is
complete. He proposed that Israel offer to pay a third-party country
to take in Sudanese and Eritrean citizens who are deported, calling
the payment a “release stipend.”
On January 31, the Interior Ministry’s Population, Immigration and
Borders Authority (PIBA) said that following the establishment of
South Sudan as an independent country last summer, citizens of that
country who are in Israel as of April 1 will no longer be considered
refugees and will face forced deportation.
On March 29, after receiving a petition from several NGOs arguing
that South Sudanese citizens who returned to their country would be
in grave danger, the Jerusalem District Court issued an injunction
barring their deportation until April 15.
On the same day as the court decision, the Foreign Ministry sent a
letter to PIBA asking it to consider a delay in the deportations so
the ministry could examine the situation in South Sudan. In light of
this request, the Jerusalem District Court issued a ruling on April 4
that the deportations could not begin until at least May 6.
The inability of South Sudanese citizens to work in Israel is their
central problem as they await the court ruling on whether to uphold
the Interior Ministry decision to deport them, according to activists
and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Israel.
William Tall, the UNHCR representative in Israel, said Monday that he
had contacted the Interior Ministry in order to request that in the
meantime it allow South Sudanese to work legally, saying that
otherwise the issue of a voluntary return would be void.
Tall added that while around 50 or 60 South Sudanese have voluntarily
returned in recent months for a multitude of reasons, such as wanting
to reunite with their families, “someone who is living in a park with
no work visa or is in a detention facility and decides to return
isn’t doing so voluntarily.”
In the meantime, Tall said that as long as the Interior Ministry does
not allow the South Sudanese to work legally, the UNHCR will not
interview any who are looking to return voluntarily.
Orit Marom, of the African refugee aid organization Asaf, said visas
were the most important issue facing the South Sudanese community at
the moment, in that these people will remain in limbo with no way to
Marom added that if the situation continues for much longer, many
would agree to return to their country voluntarily because otherwise
they would have no way to provide for themselves. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/17/12)
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