Cabinet approves PM's illegal immigration plan

Netanyahu to travel to Africa to coordinate return of migrants to native countries; "Illegal immigration is national calamity."

Sudanese detained after crossing southern border 311 (R) (photo credit: Yonathan Weitzman / Reuters)
Sudanese detained after crossing southern border 311 (R)
(photo credit: Yonathan Weitzman / Reuters)
The cabinet approved on Sunday afternoon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan to deal with growing illegal immigration to Israel. According to the new program, all government offices will contribute to a NIS 630 million budget that will be used towards strict enforcement of laws seeking to curb illegal infiltration.
The new program allowed for a NIS 75,000 fine for the employing of illigal immigrants, and in some cases, the closing of offending businesses.
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Additionally, remand of arrested illegal immigrants was extended from 60 days to three years.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the infiltration of the migrants into Israel is a "national calamity in all fields - the economy, state security," Israel Radio reported.
Saying that Israel has no obligation to advance illegal immigration into its borders, he explained that "if we do not act to stop the flood, we'll be washed away with it."
Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he will travel to Africa in an attempt to coordinate with state leaders the return of illegal African immigrants in Israel to their native countries.
The prime minister was expected to bring to a vote on Sunday legislative and security measures that would help curb the influx of African migrants.
A fence along the Israeli-Egyptian border, set to be completed next year, is expected to de-accelerate the infiltration as well.
Also on Sunday, Interior Minister Eli Yishai warned that the illegal immigration is an existential threat to the state and said that he would work to preserve the Jewish majority in Israel.
According to Yishai, only a very small number of African migrants in Israel are actually refugees. The rest, he contended, have come immigrated in order to improve their economic conditions.
The minister added that eight or nine planes have already carried illegal infiltrators back to their native lands. The immigrants were sent back with grants of five hundred dollars each.