Israel shelves plan to forcibly deport African migrants

Israel shelves plan to forcibly deport African migrants

Israel has canceled plans to expel African migrants who entered the Jewish state illegally after failing to find a country willing to host them, the government said on Tuesday.

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Israel has canceled plans to expel African migrants who entered the Jewish state illegally after failing to find a country willing to host them, the government said on Tuesday.

The plan had targeted some 42,000 migrants of Eritrean and Sudanese origin currently living in Israel.

Government legal advisers informed the Supreme Court of the plan’s cancellation after certain unspecified countries refused to host the migrants, sources close to the government said.

“At this stage, the possibility of carrying out an unwilling deportation to a third country is not on the agenda,” the government wrote in a response to the court.

The migrants, it said, will again be able to renew residency permits every 60 days, as they were before the deportation push.

The migrants and rights groups say they are seeking asylum and are fleeing war and persecution. The government says they are job seekers and that it has every right to protect its borders.

Around 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary program, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under pressure from his right-wing voter base to expel thousands more.

After leaving a U.N.-backed relocation plan a few weeks ago, Israel shifted efforts towards finalizing an arrangement to send the migrants against their will to Uganda.

A number of migrant rights groups petitioned the Supreme Court to block any such policy.

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