London: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new plan to fly illegal migrants to Rwanda got the go-ahead as the High Court in London allowed the first flight to proceed.
The Indian-origin Cabinet minister has described the new immigration strategy that will see illegal immigrants entering the UK being flown out to Rwanda as a bold and innovative move.
However, campaigners lodged a legal challenge against the plan but failed in an initial legal bid on Friday to halt the removals to the east African country.
I welcome the court’s decision in our favour and will now continue to deliver on progressing our world-leading Migration Partnership, said Patel, with reference to the court’s ruling.
People will continue to try and prevent their relocation through legal challenges and last-minute claims but we will not be deterred in breaking the deadly people smuggling trade and ultimately save lives, she said.
In his decision, the judge accepted there was a “material public interest” in the minister being able to carry out her policies.
“There is a material public interest in the Home Secretary being able to implement immigration decisions,” said Justice Jonathan Swift.
“We cannot allow people traffickers to put lives at risk and our world leading partnership will help break the business model of these ruthless criminals,” Johnson tweeted.
The first deportations under the contentious deal are expected to happen next week after the High Court ruling. But critics and campaigners have confirmed they will take the case to the Court of Appeal on Monday.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Prince Charles is said to have privately called the UK government’s plans to send some illegal migrants to Rwanda “appalling”.
A source heard the heir to the British throne expressing his opposition to the plans in a private conversation, according to The Times’ newspaper.
The Prince of Wales, 73, is said to be particularly frustrated because he is due to represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Rwandan capital Kigali this month.
“We would not comment on supposed anonymous private conversations with The Prince of Wales, except to restate that he remains politically neutral. Matters of policy are decisions for the government,” said a spokesperson for the prince.
The scheme will see asylum seekers who make dangerous or illegal journeys, such as by small boat or hidden in lorries, being relocated for their asylum claim to be processed in Rwanda.
Those whose claims are accepted will then be supported to build a new life in what the UK described as one of the fastest-growing economies.
Under the new migration partnership with the African country, the UK is investing 120 million pounds into the economic development and growth of Rwanda. Funding will also be provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and integration, similar to the costs incurred in the UK for these services.
We have signed a world-leading Migration Partnership with Rwanda which can see those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily into the UK relocated to have their claims for asylum considered and, if recognised as refugees, to build their lives there, Patel had said during a visit to Kigali in April.
This will help break the people smugglers’ business model and prevent loss of life, while ensuring protection for the genuinely vulnerable, she said.
The scheme will initially focus mainly on single men arriving in the UK on small boats from across the English Channel or hidden in lorries. The UK government has warned the crisis of illegal immigration through such dangerous routes has hit dangerous levels, with over 28,000 migrants crossing the Channel last year alone.
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