A law granting Israeli authorities the power to detain illegal migrants for up to three years came into effect on Sunday, in the wake of widening public controversy over the influx of African migrants who cross into Israel along its border with Egypt.
The law makes illegal migrants and asylum seekers liable to jail, without trial or deportation, if caught staying in Israel for long periods. In addition, anyone helping migrants or providing them with shelter could face prison sentences of between five and 15 years.
The law amended the Prevention of Infiltration Law of 1954, passed to prevent the entry of Palestinians as part of emergency legislation. The law is expanded to address migrant workers or asylum seekers who enter Israel without posing a threat to Israel’s security.
According to the law, migrant workers already here could be jailed for the most minor offense such as spraying graffiti or stealing a bicycle - infractions for which they would not have been detained before.
So far, all migrants who have been caught by the Israel Defense Forces on the Israel-Egypt border have been transferred to the Saharonim detention facility which holds 2,000 spaces.
For more, go to Haaretz.com