Photo: Herzl Yosef
Asylum seekers being released from Holot.
Photo: Herzl Yosef

Government seeks to detain migrants for longer periods

According to a new memo, the maximum period of time a migrant can be detained in Holot will be 18 months, while the Supreme Court recently ruled that asylum seekers cannot be held in Holot for longer than 12 months.

The Ministry of Interior published on Sunday a new memo to the Prevention of Infiltration Law, after the Supreme Court rejected parts of the previous amendment to the law on three separate occasions.



According to the new amendment, the maximum period of detention in Holot would be 12 months for asylum seekers and migrants who are already in Israel, with the option to extend their detention by six months in exceptional cases.


Asylum seekers leave Holot after a Supreme Court decision limiting the maximum period of detention for migrants. (Photo: Hertzl Yosef)
Asylum seekers leave Holot after a Supreme Court decision limiting the maximum period of detention for migrants. (Photo: Hertzl Yosef)


The last Supreme Court judgment set out that asylum seekers who are already in Israel cannot be detained for more than 12 months, no matter what date they entered the country.


Following the Supreme Court judgment in August, 1,200 asylum seekers and migrants who had been in Holot for more than 12 months were released.


Asylum seekers who enter Israel after the law takes effect will be sent to Holot for a maximum stay of 18 months. Additionally, the memo would cancel the ban on summoning parents with children in the country to Holot.


In the explanation accompanying the memo, it was written: "Given that the provisions of an infiltrator's stay in Israel will be determined after hearing his claims and following examination of all the circumstances of the case, the border control authority is authorized to act at its own discretion and in accordance with its opinion and experience in each case.


"Consequently, there is no need to make an exception for this population in the law," it continued.


Unusually, the memo also stipulates that it will limit the possibility for asylum seekers who have been ordered to Holot to get a temporary court order delaying their entry to the prison.


The memo was distributed to government ministries for comments, which can be submitted over the next three weeks. If there is no opposition to the memo, it will be passed on to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. If the committee approves the amendment, it will then go to the Knesset for approval.


Yonatan Yakovovich, the head of public relations at the Center for Israeli Immigration Policy, said: "The law is worded according to the terms of the Supreme Court ruling and is therefore more restricted. It is highly doubtful whether there is enough there to respond to the issue of illegal infiltration into Israel.


"The growth in the flow of infiltrators over the last few months requires comprehensive measures, including executing agreements with third countries and placing economic restrictions on the employment of infiltrators."


פרסום ראשון: 11.29.15, 21:54
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