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Proposal: Build Community for Illegal Migrants

Knesset Committee under MK Yaakov Katz proposes creative way to deal with illegal migrants: Let them live and work in their own community.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/2/2010, 7:03 PM

Flash 90

Members of the Knesset's Committee on Foreign Workers, headed by National Union party leader MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), floated a new idea Tuesday for dealing with the influx of foreign laborers from Africa into Israel. The plan would involve construction of a new community where the migrants could live and work legally. They would not be allowed to work anywhere else.

The Ministries of Public Security and Interior informed the committee that there are currently 25,000 infiltrators in Israel, and that they are joined by 700 more every month. Amnon Ben-Ami, Director of the Ministry of Interior's Population Administration, told the committee members that only a “miniscule number” of the infiltrators are refugees. He said that while the government has mounted an advertisement campaign against employing illegal workers, there has been limited enforcement of the prohibition.

Representatives of the Ministry of Justice said at the discussion that on the one hand, employing the immigrants is illegal; but on the other hand, unemployed immigrants have no way to sustain themselves and many of them turn to crime. For various reasons, the government authorities are reluctant to repatriate the immigrants to their lands of origin.

In order to try and solve the problem, the committee members demanded that the relevant government ministries look into the possibility of establishing a special community for labor immigrants who infiltrate through the border with Egypt. They will be allowed to live and work inside this community, but nowhere else.  

"Establishment of such a community could meaningfully reduce the motivation to infiltrate into Israel – a motivation which has recently grown, with the announcement of the construction of a fence on the southern border.”