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Israel high court declares immigrant detention law unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of Israel [official website] on Monday invalidated the 2012 amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Infiltration [text, PDF], declaring the act unconstitutional. The law [JURIST report] had allowed [LAT report] police forces to arrest undocumented immigrants and detain them for up to three years without trial. The unanimous decision was reached by a panel of nine supreme court justices who found that the law violated human rights. Israel has been trying to combat increased numbers of refugees and asylum seekers that enter into Israel via the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt from Eritrea and other African nations.

The issue of undocumented immigration [JURIST backgrounder, JURIST news archive] has been a controversial issue throughout the world. In August, in the US, the Obama administration released a policy directive [JURIST report; text, PDF] known as the "Family Interest Directive" emphasizing that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] agents should apply "prosecutorial discretion" towards undocumented immigrant parents of minors to limit detaining parents and to safeguard their parental rights. In February, in Europe, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) [official website, database] released a statement [JURIST report] demanding that Greece must improve detention conditions for migrants and effectively implement recent legislative developments to enhance screening procedures for asylum-seekers.

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