Illegal migrants may be detained up to 3 years

A new Israeli law that allows illegal migrants to be detained for up to three years has come into effect.

Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority said June 3 that it would begin enforcing the law, under which anyone who crosses Israel’s southern border illegally can be detained for up to three years and will be prevented from entering urban areas.

Until now, migrants could be held for up to 10 days. They then were released and generally headed to Tel Aviv or Eilat.

The new legislation, which amends a 1954 law, also stipulates that anyone helping migrants or providing them with shelter could face prison sentences of between five and 15 years.

About 60,000 migrants are living in Israel, with more than 2,000 entering the country every month. — jta