- Israel will offer up to $US8,700 in bonuses to civilians who sign on to help the government forcibly deport asylum seekers.
- The country announced it will, by March, evacuate its main detention center, which houses thousands of asylum seekers from war-torn countries including Sudan and Eritrea.
- Those who don’t leave by March face “enforcement action.”
Israel will offer a cash reward to civilians who temporarily join a new government unit created to deport its asylum seekers.
The Population and Immigration Authority published a notice on Sunday that it will offer up to a 30,000 shekel bonus ($US8,700) to citizens who become “inspectors” for the unit that manages asylum requests.
The ministry’s job ad states it is looking for 100 inspectors of on a temporary two-year basis starting March 2018.
Of these, 70 immigration inspectors will be hired for a two-month period to “carry out enforcement tasks against illegal aliens and their employers,” including the need to “locate, detain and monitor illegal persons.”
Also, 40 people will be hired for a 12 month contract to “conduct comprehensive questioning and investigation of asylum seekers.” Their duties will include receiving requests for political asylum and examining the “truthfulness” of the claims.
Last week, the Authority announced it would be evacuating its main Holot detention center in the south within coming months. Those in the center were given notice they must either leave the country or face indefinite incarceration, reported Haaretz.
The government will also offer cash incentives for asylum seekers who leave wilfully through a repatriation program called “Assisted Voluntary Return.” The program offers to assist asylum seekers – referred to as “infiltrators” – with purchasing a plane ticket, obtaining travel documents, protection from arrest and $US3,500.
The program applies to citizens of Sudan, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, and countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
If asylum seekers do not leave within three months the program also specifies “enforcement action” will be taken.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended the decision to expel migrants who have crossed into Israel.
“Every country must monitor its borders,” he said. “Maintaining the borders from illegal infiltration is both a right and a basic duty of a sovereign state.”
The United Nations refugee agency expressed serious concern over Israel’s decision to forcibly remove refugees on Tuesday. The agency said they have identified 80 cases in which asylum seekers relocated by Israel “risked their lives” by taking dangerous journeys to reach their next destination.
“The UN High Commission for Refugees stands ready to work with Israel to find alternative solutions for the protection needs of asylum seekers, in line with international standards,” said the agency’s spokesman William Spindler.
Israel has become a temporary shelter to an influx of thousands of asylum seekers from war-torn countries like Sudan and Eritrea.
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