"THE REAL FACE OF ISRAEL'S AFRICAN REFUGEE POLICY"

Bnei Brak  I Rebecca Pierce Films

Interfaith Peace-Builders delegate Rebecca Pierce captures “the real face of Israel’s African refugee policy”, at the immigration office in Bnei Brak.

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Rebecca writes “it’s one of two offices in the whole country where African asylum seekers are allowed to renew their visas and submit Refugee Status Determination forms. Where refugees stand for up to four days in a row, in the hot sun or pouring rain, to get the documents that are the only thing temporarily protecting them from prison and ‘illegality.’

Where many lose their jobs waiting for the documents that make it legal for them to work. Where kids are forced to wait with their parents, exposed to the elements and bored out of their minds. Where Black people are little more than numbers which may never even be called. Meanwhile a handful of overwhelmed volunteers clean up the literal mess the government created. Today the office didn’t even open and everyone who was waiting had to go home empty handed. The immigration officials said refugees weren’t lining up neatly enough (they were literally standing in puddles to keep the line straight) and called the police, falsely claiming there was threat of violence. But when the announcement was made people just quietly went home, it was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. The visa office is about to be closed a week for the Passover holiday.

After April 1st, those with lapsed visas can be denied them entirely, putting them at risk of imprisonment. Israeli authorites are intentionally making people’a lives miserable to pressure them into leaving. This is the real face of Israeli anti-Blackness, inept, hostile, and cruel.”