The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday prohibited the state from deporting four African migrants until 45 days from when it decides the refugee status of a fifth migrant, a Sudanese man.

The order essentially means the entire family of five can remain in Israel indefinitely.

The man, who came to Israel illegally in 2007 and requested refugee status more than six years ago, is living with the other four African migrants as a family, including a woman-mother, the couple’s one joint child and two children of the woman from a prior marriage to a man killed in Sudan in 2005.

The man had sought recognition of the couple as a married couple, but the state rejected the request since such recognition would have necessitated officially granting the man refugee status.

There was also concern the state would deport the other four Africans, as the woman is from South Sudan, to which the High Court of Justice has ruled the state can forcibly deport people.

In contrast, the state has made it clear that it will not forcibly deport Sudanese, due to either concern of persecution or a lack of diplomatic relations.

Since the man cannot be deported and the fate of the other migrants is now tied to the man, the court’s order effectively grants all five African migrants the right to remain in Israel, even if the state indefinitely delays granting them official refugee status.

The man requested the court’s intervention in 2011, and the court in its ruling vehemently criticized the state for delaying deciding the refugee status issue for so long, while also potentially undermining the man’s right to live with his family.

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