The Knesset plenum on Monday approved two amendments to the Law for the Prevention of Infiltration barring illegal migrants from sending money or property out of Israel while they are in the country and limiting the amount they can take with them when they leave.
The amendments restrict the sum migrants may take upon exit to no more than the sum of their minimum monthly salary, multiplied by the number of months they have been in Israel.
In extraordinary cases – such as serious illness of a close relative – special permits for transfering money will be issued by border control officials.
According to the law, a policeman or customs tax official are authorized to seize the forbidden property on its way out without a court order. Seized property that is not claimed after a year's time will be appropriated by the Finance Ministry. The law is defined as a temporary order and is binding until January 2014.
The second amendment, an elaboration of the first, determines that taking money out of Israel will be defined as a crime, within the framework of the money laundering prohibition law. This allows the state to more effectively enforce the ban on taking money and property out of Israel, easing the seizure process.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who voted in favor of the bill, said Monday night: "We have stopped the infiltration problem into Israel. Last month only two infiltrators crossed the border into Israel, compared with 2,000 last year. We are now focusing on the departure of infiltrators from Israel. Several thousand have already left Israel, and we continue to make efforts to get the illegal infiltrators seeking work out of the country."
The amendments were approved just a day after an expanded bench of Israel's High Court of Justice heard a petition by human rights groups against an amendment to a law that allows the prolonged incarceration of people who enter the country illegally.
According to the amendment, migrants who enter the country illegally can be held in custody for up to three years, based only on their illegal entry. The amendment allows the Custody Tribunal − the body that hears such cases − to release the migrants only on humanitarian grounds (such as advanced age or poor health).
There are currently approximately 2,000 African migrants in detention facilities, 1,750 of whom are being held for breaking the law prohibiting illegal entry into the country.
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