Likud lawmakers will introduce a bill to keep migrants in holding facilities for one year, MK Miri Regev (Likud) said Wednesday.
Regev was speaking in south Tel Aviv, where a large number of the asylum-seekers live, against a recent High Court decision to strike down a law that allowed the state to jail migrants for up to three years.
“We are here to tell the [area] residents we support them. Within the next 90 days, we will introduce a bill that will protect the residents of south Tel Aviv,” she said during a visit to the Hatikva neighborhood in south Tel Aviv.
The proposed bill would allow the state to keep migrants in jail for one year, rather than the three years allowed by a previous law which was struck down by the High Court on Tuesday, she added.
Regev has sparked controversy in the past for inflammatory statements against African migrants, including a statement in which she called Sudanese migrants “a cancer in our body.” On Wednesday, in a more moderate tone, she said the High Court had to be “respected.”
Residents of south Tel Aviv staged a protest late Tuesday night, blocking off the intersection of Hahagana and Etzel streets and carrying signs that read ”We are refugees in our own neighborhoods,” and “High Court judges — we are the ones who are jailed without trial.”
The High Court of Justice ruled unanimously Monday that the so-called “infiltrator law,” an amendment that allowed the state to detain illegal migrants for up to three years without charging them with a crime, was unconstitutional.
There are currently more than 50,000 African migrants in Israel. Some 1,750 are being held under the amendment, most of them in a detention center in southern Israel. The court ruled that each case must now be examined individually, and set a 90-day deadline for the process.