Netanyahu: We will 'solve the problem' of illegal migrants

Fence will be built in only a few months, detention center will hold migrants for up to 3 years; In last few days, 270 migrants arrested, more than 300 South Sudanese have turned themselves in.

June 13, 2012 18:18
1 minute read.
African migrant walks with suitcase in south TA

African migrant walks with suitcase in south Tel Aviv 370 (R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner )


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the government is moving forward full-speed in addressing the issue of migrant workers and will "solve the problem."

Netanyahu made the statements in the midst of an operation which has led to the detention of over 270 illegal migrants in the last few days, during a meeting of the committee for the development of the city of Eilat.

In only a few months, the border fence with Egypt will be completed, said Netanyahu, noting that the fence will halt the flow of migrants illegally crossing the border into Israel.

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He also added that just recently the Knesset passed a law which set harsher punishments for employers who hire migrants who are residing in Israel illegally.

Next, the prime minister noted that the government is building detention facilities where illegal migrants can be held for up to three years.

Netanyahu further pointed out that the state has started to return some of the illegal migrants to their country of origin.

Meanwhile, the Population and Immigration Authority continued to announce updates in the wave of arrests of illegal migrants and also noted that more than 300 South Sudanese have turned themselves in to authorities in the last three days.

The Jerusalem District Court on Thursday rejected a petition by human rights groups to bar the expulsion of South Sudanese migrants, who were supposed to have one week to leave voluntarily before Israeli authorities started arresting them.

The Department of Immigration said that though the week had not passed, they were still allowed to begin arresting the illegal migrants.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday praised the court’s ruling, calling it “the first step in the expulsion of all the ‘infiltrators’ [in Israel].”

Alsio Wednesday, MK Danny Danon slammed the Kadima party for attacking the government decision to deport migrants. "The infiltrators from Kadima are for the infiltrators from Africa," Danon said, adding that "the kadima party is working... as an opposition part within the coalition."

Ben Hartman contributed to this report

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