Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai (Shas) has welcomed a court ruling allowing illegal entrants with Ivory Coast citizenship to be deported. The court ruled in the case of 132 illegal entrants who appealed their expulsion from the country.
The roughly 2,000 Ivory Coast citizens in Israel were previous granted protection from deportation because their home country was considered a conflict zone. However, their status changed as the situation calmed. The president of Ivory Coast has agreed to their return.
Those in court argued that the country remains at war, and return could endanger their lives.
“This is an important decision that will allow us to take decisive action to remove illegal entrants from the Ivory Coast who are in Israel in violation of the law,” he said.
Yishai has previously had success with the Going Home operation, which has returned hundreds of South Sudan citizens to their country of origin.
However, he added, “We must not forget that the main problem is still the illegal entrants from Eritrea and North Sudan, who make up most of the illegal entrants.” There are roughly 50,000 citizens of Eritrea and North Sudan in Israel, he said.
The Ministry of the Interior is waiting for expert opinions from the Foreign Ministry and Legal Ministry, he said. The opinions are “essential” if illegal entrants from those two countries are to be returned home, he explained.