Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Israel claims unnamed African country will take in illegal Eritreans

Israel and an unspecified African country reportedly reached an agreement to deport illegal Eritrean migrants to its territory, and Israel is also ironing out a deal with two other countries to act as a way station for deported north Sudanese migrants, a state lawyer told the High Court on Sunday.

Speaking during proceedings in an appeals case against the incarceration of illegal immigrants, state attorney Yochi Gensin said that Jerusalem struck a deal with an unnamed state that would take in Eritrean asylum seekers who entered Israel illegally. Another deal with two other countries, also unnamed, would ensure the deportation of illegal Sudanese immigrants from Israel, she claimed.

Eritrean and Sudanese nationals make up roughly 90 percent of the 60,000 African migrants currently in Israel. Over the past few years tens of thousands of  migrants fleeing forced conscription and slave labor in Eritrea and civil war in Sudan have made the trek of hundreds of kilometers to Israel on foot, crossing the Egyptian border.

Upon their arrival in Israel, many have been detained and placed in prison for infiltrating the border, before being released to fend for themselves.

Israel does not automatically recognize the asylum claims of African migrants and does not generally grant them refugee status. Instead, it grants them a temporary release permit from prison, which allows them to remain in the country.

The international Convention relating to the Status of Refugees to which Israel is signatory stipulates that asylum seekers cannot be sent to countries where they risk persecution.

Human rights organizations appealed the legality of a new law that would allow the state to incarcerate migrants for up to three years.

The Foreign Ministry declined official comment on the matter Sunday, and Gensin’s claims have been met with a good deal of skepticism. Ministry sources told Israel Radio that they were unaware which country the deal had been struck with.

Hotline for Migrant Workers head Reut Michaeli reacted to the statement by saying the government was “telling the court fables,” according to Israel Radio.

Emmanuel Yamani, an Eritrean migrant who’s lived in Israel for five years, told Channel 2 that the migrant community is fearful of the prospect of deportation to Africa.

“As I see it, there’s no difference between shipping me off to my country or to any other African country. Some African countries have dictatorships and there too my life would be in danger,” Yamani said in response to the state attorney’s statement.

Last year Israel oversaw the transfer of several hundred asylum seekers from South Sudan back to their home county after it declared independence in July 2011.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday praised his government’s efforts to curb illegal immigration to Israel following the publication of statistics indicating that the number of migrants was dropping.

“The fence we built in the south achieves the result for which it was erected,” he said in a statement. “As opposed to more than 2,000 illegal migrants that entered Israel [per month] a year ago today… [in May] only two crossed the border, and they were arrested.

“Now we need to focus on repatriating illegal migrants found here, and this task we will also accomplish,” Netanyahu said.

Construction of the formidable 230-kilometer-long (140 miles) fence along the Egyptian border was completed in January.


Giving Illegals Access to Welfare ‘An Assault on the U.S. Taxpayer’

The Senate immigration legislation that includes access to federal entitlement programs for illegal aliens after a waiting period is a "travesty" and "an assault on the U.S. taxpayer," Robert Rector, senior research fellow on domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation, said an event on Wednesday at the Bipartisan Policy Center. asked Rector and other panelists at the discussion about past U.S. immigration policy when immigrants coming into the country were required to show that they could earn a livelihood and would not become a ward of the state.

Rector said in the current welfare state, no one is considered a "public charge" but rather a person in need of government assistance.

"The difference is at the time of Ellis Island we didn't have a $2 trillion redistributive state," Rector said, adding that the government spends almost a trillion dollars a year helping poor people with 80 different federal assistance programs.

Giving 11 million illegal aliens access to government entitlements is wrong, Rector said.

"We can barely afford to do that for U.S.-born citizens and for legal immigrants," he said. "But to try to apply this massive system of redistribution to people whose only claim to U.S. taxpayer resources is that they came here and broke the law, I think that's a travesty, and I think it's an assault on the U.S. taxpayer that's unmerited."


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