The Israeli parliament passed tough new legislation targeting illegal immigration early on Tuesday, giving authorities powers to detain migrants for up to three years without charge.
The legislation, an amendment to a 1954 law originally intended to deal with Arab militants trying to infiltrate the Jewish state, was passed by 37 votes to eight.
The legislation is part of the government’s efforts to curb a huge influx of people sneaking across Israel’s desert border with Egypt, the majority of them economic migrants from Africa.
A posting on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page boasted: “I too voted for the law.”
Last month, the cabinet allocated 630 million shekels ($167 million, 124 million euros) for new measures to tackle illegal immigration, which Netanyahu has called “a national calamity.”