Immigration police not enough?
Photo: Amir Levy
Police want 'migrant worker unit' in TA
Treasury tapped for funds to fight crime perpetrated by migrants with no address, identification

Police will establish a special unit to battle crime perpetrated by migrant workers residing in southern Tel Aviv, near the old central bus station, Ynet learned Thursday.


An assessment led by Commissioner Dudi Cohen concluded that the unit was necessary and the need for it urgent, but that police would have to await the Finance Ministry's approval to receive funds for its formation.


Some present at the assessment suggested the unit be established for a limited time, until the state carries out plans to clamp down on illegal residents.


The new unit, which joins a unit focused on eastern European immigrants and the immigration police, will be responsible for establishing a database of fingerprints as well as an intelligence branch to fight crime amongst some 40-50,000 migrants who remain totally invisible to the state – they have neither addresses nor IDs.


Many of the migrants, who enter Israel daily by illegal means, end up near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. Police believe tens of thousands of these migrants have been living in Tel Aviv for a while, in dank and unsuitable living conditions, and sometimes on the street.


Because they are usually smuggled into Israel there are no records of these migrants, and often they do not succeed in finding work. Thus, police say, many of them have turned to crime in order to survive.


"There is an intolerable situation of tens of thousands of migrants of whom no one knows who they are and what they do," a senior police official said. "We can't deport them to the states from which they fled, and we must find solutions."


During the assessment meeting, many stressed the need for intelligence on the community of migrant workers living in Tel Aviv. As a first priority, the unit will therefore gather fingerprints and information on known criminals.


"We currently have no information on who or what is lurking in this area," one official said. "If one of them commits a crime, and is not caught red-handed or because of informants, we have trouble finding him because we don't have an address or identification. This plan will solve this problem."


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