Israel is not backing down on migrant deportation and we can thank Trump for it

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, March 21st, 2018 at 5:12 PM

With the way the current political atmosphere has been in the U.S., it’s often hard to see the effect our current office has elsewhere in the world. We have a president who demands mass deportation of current illegal immigrants, one who promotes an “America First” style of foreign policy, and one who further pushes a “hit them first and hit them hard” mentality that emphasizes action first, which comes across as ill prepared at times.

So how in the world could a nationalist president wanting to issue a slew of mass deportations affect anywhere other than the states? Well, let me explain why I believe the president’s actions have led to what’s happening in Israel. 

In case you haven’t been paying attention to Israel, they are currently in the news for something that might sound familiar to the issue Trump has been harping on since he started his campaign back in June 2015. That issue is none other than illegal immigration, however in this case, it is largely migrants from Eritrea and Sudan. 

These nearly 40,000 migrants were given 90 days, as of Jan. 2, to leave Israel or suffer jail time. Those who choose to leave for this “voluntary” relocation process will be given up to $3,500 if they leave before April; however this seems to be far from voluntary as many have spoken out against it already since it was first proposed in March 2015.

The Israeli government has stated that their return home will be humane and states the order exempts children, women, parents of dependent minors and victims of slavery and human trafficking, but on the other hand, they refer to them all as “infiltrators” even though the majority are seeking asylum. This term originated in the 1950s to refer to Palestinians who entered from the West Bank to attack Israel, showing an inherent disdain towards these people when comparing them to one of Israel’s lifelong enemies.

In order to invalidate their reasons for seeking refuge, the Israeli government has begun by labeling them as economic migrants, similar to what Trump has done, thus effectively dissociating them from the idea that they are in need of any help and are instead a burden on Israel. 

According to an article at Vox.com: “In Europe last year, about 90 percent of the tens of thousands of Eritreans who applied for asylum were allowed in. In Israel, just 10 Eritreans and one Sudanese person have received asylum since 2009.” These numbers show that this has been a contended issue for quite some time, but I believe that Trump’s extreme push towards deportation in the states and diehard support of Israel has helped to push this idea into a reality.

The straw that really broke the camel’s back, though, was the announcement in early December 2017 that Trump was going to push for the U.S. Embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and that the much contested city was in fact the property of Israel, effectively giving Israel the validation it needed to shut out its Palestinian neighbors. 

With the full support of the U.S. president, one whom wholeheartedly pushes for deportation and rejection of foreign refugees, there is no doubt this was the push needed for Israel to disregard the pleas from the United Nations stating that the government’s use of money to pressure people to leave was a violation of international law. 

The reason behind the questioning of legality is that by giving them an offer they simply can’t refuse, they are effectively forcing people to decide between indefinite imprisonment or being sent back to unsafe countries. This is directly related to the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which requires that state parties “protect people living within their borders and prohibits them from sending people to other countries where they would be harmed based on their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.” 

Now what will come of this situation is still up in the air, as April is not yet upon us, but as the days get closer and closer, we may soon see what a mass deportation looks like. 

Is this what the future will look like if Trump and the Republican party gets their way? Only time will tell.

Roman Sabella can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: voices, viewpoint

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