Seeing as the number of illegal immigrants shot up to 45,775 last year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made ‘stopping the boats’ one of his top five pledges last year as he took office.
The former UK government first introduced the Rwanda policy, also known as the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership, in April 2022. Since its inception, the policy has never bode well with human rights advocates, who view and call the strategy ‘unethical’ and ‘morally wrong.’
Under the terms of the immigration policy, individuals who entered the nation illegally or as asylum seekers and traveled 32 kilometers across the English Channel in inflatable boats would be sent to Rwanda for ‘processing, asylum, and resettlement’.
To put it plainly, illegal immigrants would be sent to an East-Central African third-world nation against their will.
In June of last year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) blocked the government’s first attempt to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda by imposing an order that prohibited their removal until the British legal proceedings were resolved.
Since then, the 120 million pound ($148 million) deal has faced significant opposition from the country’s citizens in addition to multiple legal challenges in court.
Ever Solomon, head of the charity Refugee Council, also argued last December that shipping people who are seeking safety off to another country ‘like cargo is a cruel policy that will result in a great deal of suffering for humankind’.
The deal by the British PM
To date, no illegal immigrants have been relocated to Rwanda.
Despite all the pushbacks, why is the British PM still pushing for a hardline immigration policy?
Aside from hoping that the policy might be able to pull off a win for the party in the next election, the journeys on small inflatable boats themselves are considered dangerous. Last year, a small boat capsized in the frigid waters off the coast of Britain, resulting in the deaths of four individuals.
The policy will also discourage gangs involved in human trafficking from transporting migrants over the treacherous shipping lanes of the Channel.
Additionally, Home Secretary Suella Braverman declared that the channel crossings constituted an “invasion of their southern coast” and that it would be “unforgivable” if the government did not put an end to the travels.
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