JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel can continue to deport illegal migrants to third countries, but cannot continue its policy of indefinite detention, the Supreme Court ruled.
The illegal migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea in Africa, can now only be held in jail or a detention center for no more than 60 days, the court ruled Monday.
The judges said that it must be determined the countries to which the migrants are deported, generally Rwanda and Uganda, are safe for the African nationals. Rwanda and Uganda will not accept involuntary deportees.
Israel is one of only a few Western countries who deport asylum seekers to third countries. Reports have emerged of migrants being mistreated after they are living in the third countries.
Asylum seekers who refuse to be deported to their country of origin or a third country can be jailed for up to two months while the state tries to persuade them to change their minds, but after that they must be freed, the court said.
There are more than 46,400 Africans in Israel who consider themselves asylum seekers, the Times of Israel reported, citing the African Refugee Development Center.