Migrants dance with South Sudanese flag 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The deportation of the 700- 1,500 South Sudanese in Israel barely scratches the surface of solving the migrant problem facing the country, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Sunday evening, as a group of 123 South Sudanese prepared to board a midnight flight home to Juba.
Yishai said the real problem “is with Eritrea that has 30,000 people [in Israel] and north Sudan with 15,000,” adding that he hopes “that the legal obstacles to this will be lifted soon and we can expel them as well.”
Yishai admitted that the South Sudanese make up only a “drop within a drop” of the 60,000 or so African migrants in Israel, but added that deporting them is a “national interest” and that if he “has to chose between the interests of Israel and the interests of the Sudanese, I will choose Israel.”
Currently Israel cannot legally deport migrants from Sudan, an enemy state where they would stand to face persecution upon return, or Eritreans, who are citizens of a police state and would potentially be in grave danger if sent back. As a result, both groups are granted group protection status and cannot be deported, giving them de-facto refugee status without the rights that refugee status affords.
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