Israel’s parliament passed an incredibly controversial law last week that permits the unlimited, indefinite detention of migrants. The law amends a 1954 statute pertaining to guerrilla fighters penetrating the Israeli-Egyptian border. By sactioning the same wartime punishment against alleged terrorists and asylum seekers (the type of migrant the legislation inherently victimizes), Israel conflates the respective security threats – an unnerving tendency that is continually echoed within the chambers of the Knesset.
The indefinite detention of illegal migrants dispossesses asylum seekers from their basic rights, including the right to trial as well as to timely deportation. The law only requires a review of detention within seven days, and once again every three years. Any crime committed by migrant workers – from graffiti to weapons possession – is grounds for detainment. This default criminalization of migrants and the terms of their detention contradict several international treaties. Mandated periodic reviews that are years apart fail to mitigate these abuses. Read more