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Israel OKs harsh penalties for illegal migrants

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 13:44

Jerusalem: Israel`s Parliament has approved a bill that would make it possible to imprison illegal migrants for life over property crimes and detain them for up to three years without trial.

The harsh penalties are aimed at trying to stanch a flood of illegal immigration from Africa. Critics say the new law is unconstitutional and tramples human rights.

Anyone caught helping migrants could face prison terms of up to 15 years.

The government estimates 50,000 Africans have illegally entered Israel since 2006. It says most seek a more comfortable life and are not fleeing persecution.

The influx has touched off a national debate. Some Israelis say the migrants are a burden and dilute Israel`s Jewish character. Others say the Jewish state must be especially accommodating of people escaping persecution or conflict.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 13:44

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