Israel classifies Eritrean migrants as Ethiopians to deport them
Seeking to prevent Eritrean migrants from staying in Israel, the Israeli Interior Ministry argues that many of them are in fact Ethiopians, and thus eligible for deportation, Ha’aretz daily reported Monday.
In order to deport them out of Israel, Israeli Population and Migration Authority has recently reclassified tens of Eritrean migrants as Ethiopians, despite their insistence that they are Eritreans, said the report.
The Authority said hundreds of other cases are now under legal procedures, the report said. But the Authority was not immediately ready to comment.
Eritreans are granted with automatic “temporary collective protection” which allows them to find shelter in Israel, but many of them have no official documents to prove their Eritrean nationality. Therefore, the Interior Ministry determined whether they are indeed Eritreans based on personal interviews.
Last month, only one of 19 petitions against the classifications of the Interior Ministry was accepted by a Central District Court, which ruled the ministry mistakenly classified an Eritrean woman as Ethiopian.
Currently, over 36,000 African migrants are in Israel and many of them are asylum seekers from Eritrea and South Sudan.
Last year, former Internal Minister Eli Yishai issued a set of decrees aimed at repatriating and incarcerating African migrants, charging that they posed a threat to the Jewish character of the country and hurt Israelis’ welfare.