Small crimes, big time: New law to allow indefinite detention of migrants
Disturbing public order – soon this designation will be all government needs to deport refugees, infiltrators to detention facilities; Ministers Gideon Saar, Yitzhak Aharonovich, responsible for new measure, ‘Will discourage criminals’; AG gives green-light
Israeli law relating to foreigners living in Israel has become stricter, and shortly it seems, so will the law relating to refugee and infiltrator migrants who have committed even the smallest trespass.
Under the soon-to-be enacted procedures, these subjects will find themselves arrested and sentenced to a detention facility, located in far-off locations and without any way of getting back to the cities in which they were detained.
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The new law is the work of Internal Affairs Minister Gideon Saar and Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich. Given the green light by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, the law states that an infiltrator who “disturbs the public order” could now be immediately transferred to such a facility.
Up until now, migrants found guilty of such acts could be detained only if they were a “danger to public safety.” If this new procedure, revealed here for the first time, is enacted, authorities will be able to lock away migrants for very long periods of time, for much smaller infractions.
This also means that once the procedure is activated, a migrant caught committing even a minor infraction, will be punished much more harshly than an Israeli who commits the same act.
A senior source involved in the new law says it was designed to cover “grey” areas of enforcement in relation to the migrants. Today, if a migrant is suspected of murder or another serious offense, he can be arrested until the end of proceedings against him. But when it relates to infractions such as harassment, stealing cell phones and breaking and entering, there is no detention until the end of proceedings. Until an indictment is filed or a trial begins, the migrant can return to his neighborhood, or flee to another city.
The source explained that with the new law, in any situation in which a migrant is deemed “a danger to public order,” yet not “dangerous,” a police officer will now be able to collect evidence, enabling the migrant to have a hearing. If his explanations are not convincing, he will be taken to custody.
“This is a change in how we view migrants,” the source said.
The new, dramatic procedure was born due to repeated complaints of residents of south Tel Aviv, but it is supposed to also apply to other cities which have a high migrant populations such as Eilat and Arad.
Initial discussions on the subject were held at Saar’s offices, and included Aharonovich, representatives of the Population and Immigration Authority, the police, and the Justice Ministry. Within the framework of the discussions, it was decided that the ministers would jointly approach the Attorney General with their proposal. At the same time, Saar announced the formation of an intra-ministry taskforce, that would work to strengthen the personal security of city residents.
“There is no need to verbalize the effect that the phenomena of migrants has had on Israeli society,” the ministers wrote in their appeal to Weinstein. According to them, the existing law led to a situation in which only 25% of the migrants have been removed from cities – with most eventually finding their ways back.
“This phenomena makes it very hard to deal with issues of public order and enforcement of the law, and it makes deterrence non-existent within the criminal population. In accordance with police and professional recommendations, we should make the procedure apply also to migrants who disturb public order, and not only to those who are a danger to the public,” they wrote.
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