Israeli Cabinet OKs detention facility for illegal migrants


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Cabinet approved a plan to build a detention center for illegal migrants who infiltrate Israel’s southern border.

The facility will accommodate infiltrators who enter Israel illegally and cannot be deported to their country of origin. It will provide the illegals with basic necessities according to international standards, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

In 2009, an average of approximately 300 infiltrators entered Israel per month, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. The average thus far this year is 1,200 to 1,500 infiltrators per month. Approximately 35,000 illegal infiltrators have entered Israel in recent years.

Most of the infiltrators are economic migrants seeking work. In one Population and Migration Administration check of 5,000 infiltrators, it was recommended that only two of them receive refugee status.

"This growing wave threatens Israelis’ jobs, is changing the character of the country and we must stop it," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"We do not intend to arrest refugees from war. We allow them to enter and will continue to do so. But we must stop the mass entry of illegal infiltrators who are looking for work due to the very harsh repercussions that this wave will have on the character and future of the State of Israel."

Netanyahu pointed out that Israel is working to prevent illegal infiltration by building an additional fence along its border with Egypt, as well as by imposing heavy fines on those who employ illegal workers.

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