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Published on Dec 12, 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he plans to travel to Africa to examine the possibility of returning illegal labor migrants to their home countries. Netanyahu said that the phenomenon of infiltrators entering Israel via the Sinai Peninsula is a "blow to [Israel's] economy, society, infrastructure, welfare and internal security." Netanyahu said that the Africans infiltrating into Israel are labor migrants, not refugees. According to data presented at the cabinet meeting, there are currently 52,487 illegal labor migrants in Israel. The plan approved includes speeding up construction to complete a border fence with Egypt within the coming year. It also includes the construction and expansion of detention facilities to hold illegal migrants. Additionally, fines are to be increased on employers who hire illegal migrants.