‘Hurdles and Barriers’ — UK’s Rwanda Migrant Will ‘Take Time’ to Implement, Admits Home Secretary

An activist from the climate change protest group Extinction Rebellion (XR), dressed up as
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

The British government’s scheme to fly illegal boat migrants to Rwandan asylum processing centres will “take time” to implement in light of mounting legal challenges from pro-migrant groups and institutions, Home Secretary Priti Patel has admitted.

While the Home Office has said that it will begin informing the first batch of migrants that they are set to be relocated to the East African nation of Rwanda this week, the government has acknowledged that there will be significant delays due to legal challenges against the scheme.

“I’ve said from day one, even when I signed the agreement and announced the partnership, that this will take time and it will take time for a range of reasons,” Priti Patel said per the BBC.

“We see various hurdles and barriers, mainly from specialist law firms that want to block the removal of individuals that have no right to be in our country,” the Home Secretary added.

The Home Office, the government department tasked with dealing with immigration in Britain, said that a group of illegal migrants, including some who have illegally crossed the English Channel from France, will be informed of their pending removal to Rwanda this week.

However, it said that it expects layers representing the migrants to launch legal challenges to keep the flights off the ground, a problem that has bedevilled the government’s attempts to deport foreign criminals for years.

On top of individual lawyers, pro-migrant activist groups such as Care4Calais and Detention Action are already preparing to launch a joint legal action against the Rwanda plan as a whole alongside the civil servants’ Public and Commercial Services Union.

So far this year, more than 7,500 illegal migrants have crossed the English Channel from France. In addition to removing strain from the asylum system in Britian, the government has stated that it hopes the plan to send illegals to Rwanda will deter future migrants from attempting the oft-perrilous journey across the busy waterway.

While some Conservatives had claimed that the detterence effect was already occurring after an 11 day pause in boats crossing the Channel was witnessed last month, after a break in poor weather conditions, the boats began setting off again, with hundreds more landing on the beaches of Britain.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has warned that the plan will only act as a deterent if the planes to Rwanda carrying illegals begin soon, especially as the warm summer months often see the highest number of crossings of the Channel.

The government has been warned that as many as 100,000 aliens could enter the country via the route by the end of the year, over three times the total seen during last year’s record high of over 28,000.

Mr Farage has also demanded that the government free the United Kingdom from the European Court on Human Rights, which despite leaving the European Union, Britain is still bound by as the court operates outside of the EU. While the post-Brexit government has since passed legislation granting more authority to remove migrants, leftist lawyers could still challenge the plans by appealing to the European court.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the increasing number of boats setting sail from the beaches of France, an EU member state, was “exactly why we changed our laws”.

She added that the deal struck with Rwanda to house migrants is “sending out a clear signal that those that come to our country illegally will have no right to remain in our country, and we will use every tool and every piece of legislation that we have at our disposal to make sure that we can remove them.”

However, migrants in Calais, one of the central hubs in France from which the boats are launched, have said the threats from the British government will not stop them from trying to reach the UK. In another blow to the potential for a deterrent effect is that internal analysis from the Home Office reportedly found that the government would only be able to deport 300 migrants to Rwanda this year.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.