To Wave the Threshold Conditions in the Procedure for Regulating Status due to Humanitarian Reasons
On January 18, 2021, the Israeli Immigration Authority, the Center for Refugees and Migrants, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a demand to abolish the threshold conditions in the procedure for regulating status due to humanitarian reasons, as established by the Population and Immigration Authority. According to the procedure, individuals seeking to submit an application must present a valid passport of two years (Clause 4.2 of the procedure). Additionally, the procedure grants the authority the discretion to summarily reject humanitarian applications without review, if the applicant entered Israel through an unfamiliar border crossing ("infiltrator") (Clause 5.4.b of the procedure).
The appeal argues that these threshold conditions obstruct the path for submitting requests and obtaining status in Israel for individuals in severe distress, including the most vulnerable populations in Israel such as asylum seekers, including victims of human trafficking and unaccompanied minors, who arrived from African countries, and stateless individuals. Their exclusion from the procedure occurs despite many of them residing in Israel legally. The appeal contends that a substantial verdict undermines the principle that rejection at the threshold of humanitarian requests is reserved for exceptional cases only, and that the consistent presentation of identification documents should not serve as a precondition for evaluating such requests. The authority must examine each case on its merits, without establishing rigid procedures, and should not penalize individuals for infiltration. Moreover, the option to deport (as purportedly justified by the requirement for a valid passport) always remains possible by issuing a transit permit, as has been practiced with thousands of Sudanese and Eritreans.
On March 13, 2022, the initial hearing for the appeal took place. Following remarks from the court during the process, the Population and Immigration Authority amended the passport clause in the procedure, allowing applications for humanitarian status to be submitted even without a valid passport. The debate over the "infiltration" clause continued.
On August 13, 2023, the judgment was issued, which removed the "infiltration" clause from its content. The court instructed the authority to revise the clause, suggesting its relocation from its current place at the top of the reasons for rejection list to the end, aiming to clarify their relationship. The court anchored its verdict in the obligations of the Population and Immigration Authority throughout the process, designed to diminish the weight of the "infiltration" conditions. It affirmed that "the matter of infiltration to Israel cannot be the sole determinant, especially when dealing with requests based on humanitarian reasons."
Case No. 31978-01-21 Appellants: Israel Immigration Authority, Ministry of Interior Respondents: Tal Hassin (Association for Civil Rights), Nimrod Avigal (Israel Immigration Authority), Stav Paz-Haï (Center for Refugees and Migrants)
Appellants' Supplementary Argument, May 2022 (Hebrew)
Respondents' Response, September 2022 (Hebrew)
Judgment, August 13, 2023 (Hebrew)