The court gave the state until March 26 to answer the claims, and deportations would be suspended until then. Human rights groups say the refugees will face life danger if the plan is implemented. Following the construction of the border fence along the Israeli-Egyptian frontier, illegal border crossings plummeted by more than 99% – but only after almost 60,000 illegal immigrants entered Israel prior to the construction of the fence in 2012.
The border has since been strengthened, all but ending illegal crossings. Under the plan, the government offered cash payments of $3,500 to illegal immigrants who voluntarily left the country either for their countries of origin or for “third-party” states which had cut deals with Israel to accept illegal immigrants in exchange for monetary compensation.
The Holot facility was closed the previous afternoon, ahead of a midnight deadline, immigration authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told AFP. Since Netanyahu announced the deportation plan, some Holot inmates have been transferred to the nearby Saharonim prison.
For now, deportation notices will not be issued to women, children, fathers of children, anyone recognized as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and those who had requested asylum by the end of 2017 but have not received a response, Haaretz reported.
African migrants and Israelis demonstrate with their arms crossed against the Israeli government’s policy to forcibly deport African refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda. Israel’s Cabinet in January approved a plan and the budget to deport thousands of migrants from Sudan and Eritrea. The government now can not deport migrants until the court receives new information on the plan, the Supreme Court said yesterday.