MKs propose to close asylum seekers detention camp, have them face deportation or jail

Two Israeli ministers are proposing to shut down the Holot detention camp for African asylum seekers, which they say has become too 'convenient.' Instead, they say, asylum seekers should choose between deportation and prison.
The Holot facility Photo credit: Dorit Jordan Dotan/Channel 2 News

Israeli lawmakers have proposed to shut down the Holot detention facility for asylum seekers, and instead to present them with two options only – deportation or prison.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas), who are pushing the move, say the Holot facility has become a "convenient alternative" for Africans who enter Israel illegally.

The government is expected to discuss the proposal on Sunday.

"We must do everything we can to make it easier for the citizens of Israel," Deri said, referring to asylum seekers as "infiltrators." "As I've promised the residents of south Tel Aviv and the other neighborhoods and cities where infiltrators live, I intend to use any possible means to increase the rate of deportation to another country."

"Following the Supreme Court rulings, which have limited the amount of time one can stay in the facility and have vastly improved its living conditions ... the facility is no longer a real incentive to leave Israel, as it was meant to be," Erdan said.



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