PM says those hiring illegal workers to be fined

Fines are 3rd part of three-prong policy against infiltrators including fence along Egypt border and tougher punishment for illegal immigrants.

Rivlin, Horowitz visit facility for illegal immigrants 311 (photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset)
Rivlin, Horowitz visit facility for illegal immigrants 311
(photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the cabinet Sunday that in the coming days the government will begin imposing heavy fines on businesses employing illegal infiltrators.
The fines are the third spike of a three-prong policy against infiltrators that includes building a 240-km. fence along the Egyptian border and stiffening the punishments for those illegally entering the country.
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Netanyahu, surveying for the cabinet what is being done to stem illegal infiltrators entering the country from Sinai, said the fence will be completed in nine or 10 months, and that last week a law was passed allowing illegal infiltrators to be held for up to three years.
“This is not to say that they must be held for this entire period,” he said.
“However, it changes the existing reality in which an infiltrator is detained and released after two weeks – and [then] he makes his way to Eilat or Tel Aviv or some place else.”
Netanyahu, who has made stemming the tide of illegal infiltrators a central priority for his government, said the three-prong policy was necessary to maintain the Jewish and democratic character of the state.
The prime minister said the steps were not aimed at political refugees, whose numbers “are negligible,” but rather at infiltrators coming to Israel in search of better economic prospects.
Also on Sunday, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, along with Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers chairman Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and former committee chairman MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) visited the Saharonim holding facility for illegal immigrants in the Negev.
According to a Prisons Service worker who gave Rivlin and Horowitz a tour of the facility, 16,786 infiltrators entered Israel in 2011, an 18.3 percent increase since 2010. The Prisons Service predicts that Israel will soon face 24,000 illegal immigrants each year.
Rivlin said that the state must find a way to prevent infiltration. Once the illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers have entered Israel, he suggested that they should be accepted as foreign workers, rather than importing such workers from abroad.
“At the same time,” Rivlin added, “we must make sure not to relay the message that Israel is a paradise for those seeking work, and we cannot give positive incentives for the mass flow into Israel.”
According to Horowitz, an injustice has been done with the illegal immigrants, which he said are kept in difficult conditions.
The Meretz MK called on the government to finish the fence along the southern border, and check each person that enters the country.