State announces all migrant expulsion orders rescinded
Responding to petitions to halt forcible expulsion, state says no new orders will be given to Eritrean, Sudanese migrants, existing orders voided; willing departure process to continue; 'Forcibly deporting to third country not an option at this time,' state says as PM Netanyahu, Interior Minister Deri move to reopen detention facilities.
The decision came in response to two petitions calling on Israel to halt the dissemination of expulsion orders and the holding of hearings for the African migrants, seeing as no country has agreed to take them in as yet.
"Forcibly deporting to a third country is not an option at this stage," the state's reply said, and consequently "no further decisions on third-country expulsion will be issued at this time."
"Decisions to expel already handed down will similarly be voided as per the opinion of the deputy attorney general on public-administrative law, with the consent of the attorney general himself," the statement continued.
It was also stated that "infiltrators whose visa was issued in accordance with the date on which they were expected to leave to a third country – their permit will be renewed every 60 days as was the custom before the beginning of the expulsion protocol."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, meanwhile, announced that following Uganda and Rwanda's refusal to take in migrants under the terms Israel demanded, immediate preparations for the reopening of detention facilities will commence.
The two also announced they will begin promoting the override power to set the stage for the facilities' operation, alongside other measures to be taken to solve the problem.
While forceful deportation to Rwanda and then Uganda has failed, the Population and Immigration Authority said "willing deportation" to the two countries will continue. "The state will continue working on the issue of infiltrators, including encouraging their willing departure or unwilling deportation, in accordance with the possibilities the law affords," a statement said.
Following the state's decision, asylum seekers coming in to renew their stay permits will be offered to contact the willing departure unit to arrange for their departure to a third country. Since April 8, the state noted, 16 asylum seekers left Israel for Uganda of their own free will.
The state's message to the court also contained other details regarding the expulsion. For example, it was revealed that since the first expulsion orders were handed out on February 4, 1,814 notices regarding expulsion to either Rwanda or Uganda were given.
In addition, 409 pre-expulsion hearings were held and 289 decisions to expel were made.
The Saharonim detention facility, which previously housed hundreds of migrants who have since been freed, still holds five asylum seekers who have committed crimes. The Holot facility in the Negev, intended to make migrants wish to leave Israel, closed down last month.
The first petition on the matter was submitted by 119 human rights activists, whereas the second was submitted by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and other human rights groups.