Israel must work to disperse “infiltrators” concentrated in south Tel Aviv, and step up the detention of African migrants, MK Miri Regev, head of the Knesset Interior and Environmental Committee, said on Monday.
Regev, who famously called Sudanese migrants “a cancer in the body of our nation” at a rally last May, also called for the police to issue detailed statistics on crimes committed by illegal migrants.
She spoke during a meeting of the committee to examine government steps taken to deal with the migrant issue.
During the meeting, Amnon Ben- Ami head of the Interior Ministry’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, said the influx of illegal migrants has more or less stopped and that 1,632 migrants have agreed to be deported under “voluntary return.”
He credited that to the policy of putting illegal migrants in detention in the South, the fence on the Egyptian border and legislation limiting their ability to send money home from Israel.
During the meeting, representatives of the government and the police also credited the “voluntary returns” in part to legislation that allows for migrants to be held in detention if they are found to be “disturbing the peace.”
Justice Ministry policy holds that migrants detained in prisons cannot give consent to be returned to their country if the only alternative is to be kept in detention.
On Tuesday, the Hotline for Migrant Workers and other Israeli NGOs reported that 14 Eritreans had agreed to be deported from the Saharonim detention center to Eritrea. The Population, Immigration and Borders Authority would not comment on the details of the arrangement.
The Hotline said on Monday that a number of those migrants reported that an Interior Ministry official had visited them in jail and told them they would be given $1,500 each, money the Hotline said would be confiscated