Asylum Seekers

In what has been an ongoing tug-of-war between lawmakers and the High Court in Israel, asylum seekers are left in continued uncertainty regarding what the future holds for them. The original plan in the Israeli parliament sought to deport about 40,000 illegal residents either to their home country or to one of two other possible countries in Africa who agreed to take them. The original agreement allowed for a few thousand dollars to be given to each deportee and a free plane ticket to their destination. Originally, the Israeli parliament planned for the deportations to begin by April 1st but a High Court ruling suspended the decision until the proposed plan could be further reviewed and negotiations made that would ensure the ethical implementation of the deportation plans.

This past Monday, a new agreement was reached in which the deportees would be sent, not to African nations but to western nations agreeing to take them in. The new agreement also allowed for more than half of the 40,000 to remain in Israel rather than being deported. Later Monday night, the latest agreement was cancelled, leaving the 40,000 asylum seekers back in the same position they’ve been since the deportation plan was first proposed.

This situation isn’t pleasant for those who may be deported and will set a precedent that would affect how asylum seekers are handled in the future. Illegal border crossings are of course an issue in Israel, but we are also praying that those who need help will get it and that solutions will be found for those who sincerely need to get away from their home countries and who aren’t just seeking better economic conditions. We also don’t want Israel to continue to turn a blind eye to those living in Israel illegally since illegal residence in any nation almost always means getting paid “under the table,” which typically means getting paid less than minimum wage and can mean being pressured into selling drugs or prostitution—all undesirable results. We want the best conditions for those who’ve entered Israel’s borders, so we are praying that a solution will be reached that will allow for deportation of those who do not need asylum in this country, and legal asylum for those who truly need it so that they can work legally in Israel and receive wages comparable to others in this nation.

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