Africans living in Israel for more than eight years demand another year to prepare for their departure to other countries. 'We can't just get up and leave in one day,' protestor says outside PM's Residence
Yael Branovsky Published: 04.17.10, 21:40 / Israel News
Dozens of illegal African migrants rallied outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on Saturday, demanding that their status in Israel be regulated so that they may legally return to their countries of origin in the future.
Recently, some 2,000 illegal African workers who had entered Israel eight or more years ago asked that the Interior Ministry grant them a one-year stay in exchange for their voluntary emigration after 12 months. The migrants said they would use the time to save up and prepare the paperwork needed to return to their home countries or to legally immigrate to other countries.
The proposal, which was authored by The African Workers' Union along with attorney Tomer Warsaw, was rejected by the Interior Ministry. About a month ago the Union petitioned the High Court of Justice, which is expected to issue its ruling on the matter on Thursday.
The African Workers' Union was founded by Swaray Alusine, who arrived in Israel from Sierra Leone some 20 years ago. "We are not asking to remain in Israel permanently, but rather for a short period of time that will allow us to get organized," he told Ynet.
"It's not easy to get up and leave in one day. We have family and friends here. We are even willing to pay a 3,000 shekel ($810) deposit for each (migrant) authorized to stay in Israel for a period that will be determined by the Interior Ministry," said Alusine.
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