State Okays NIS 630 Million to Keep African Migrants Out

Last month a record 2,676 people crossed the border illegally, bringing the total this year to 13,581.

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The cabinet yesterday approved a plan to sink an additional NIS 630 million into projects aimed at preventing the infiltration of African migrants and others from the Sinai Peninsula.

The money will come from a 2 percent across-the-board cut in all the ministries' budgets.

A migrant held at the Saharonim detention facility in the Negev.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Last month a record 2,676 people crossed the border illegally, bringing the total this year to 13,581.

Under the plan, the barrier now under construction will be completed, providing a physical obstruction along the border between Kerem Shalom and Taba. The Saharonim detention center at Ketziot will also be expanded.

The plan also provides for fines of NIS 75,000 for those who employ infiltrators, up from the current NIS 5,000, and allows for shutting down a violator's business in some instances.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added that he planned to visit Africa shortly to evaluate the feasibility of returning the migrants to their home countries.

This struck some as strange, since in early 2012 he is scheduled to visit Kenya and Uganda, while most of the infiltrators are from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan.

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