A-G working on policy for returning migrants

New move would require set text to question migrants wanting to return to country of origin "voluntarily."

May 12, 2013 23:10
1 minute read.
Aftrican migrants pack after night in TA park

Aftrican migrants pack after night in TA park_370. (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)


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Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Sun- day announced he will soon issue official guidelines for the “voluntary” return of illegal migrants to their countries of origin.

Among the migrants from Eritrea and Sudan, “there are more than a small number expressing their willingness to return to their countries of origin,” he said.

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The state was, however, obligated to be extra careful about a “voluntary” readiness to return among migrants being held in Israel’s Saharonim detention center in the South, he said.

Next, Weinstein said he had instructed Dena Zilber, the deputy attorney-general for legisla- tive affairs, to create clear policies on the issue, including a list of questions to ask migrants and providing for oversight of the interviews.

On Sunday afternoon, Weinstein and other top legal officials met in his Jerusalem office with neighborhood representatives from south Tel Aviv.

One of the eight residents at the meeting was Shlomo Maslawi, head of the Hatikva neighbor- hood council and an organizer of protests against the African migrant community.

Maslawi said the residents met with Wein- stein because he was a key figure in the legal system who could help ensure that Israeli enforces laws against migrants.

“There are already a series of laws that have been passed, for instance the ‘Infiltrators Law,’ but they aren’t being carried out.

We want him to ensure that these laws are enforced and that steps are also taken to stop them from concentrating them in Tel Aviv,” Maslawi said.

Maslawi said he also spoke to Weinstein about the despair residents face. “We told him about the suffering we’ve been through, the lack of personal security in our neighborhoods, the residents who are fleeing the neighbor- hoods, the daily threats to our lives and the rise in violence and crime in our neighbor- hoods.”

Maslawi and Weinstein both said the latter told the group he understood their suffering and that the State of Israel was too small to accept such a massive number of migrants.

Maslawi said that Weinstein vowed to take a tour of south Tel Aviv with residents to see the issue up close.

At the same time, Weinstein told the residents that there were no immediate and “magic solutions.”

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