Rwandan migrant from UK will ‘take time’ to implement, admits Priti Patel

The British government’s scheme to ferry illegal immigrants to asylum processing centers in Rwanda will “take time” to implement in light of growing legal challenges from pro-immigrant groups and institutions, Home Secretary Priti Patel admitted.

While the Interior Ministry said it will begin informing the first batch of migrants that they are due to be relocated to the East African nation of Rwanda this week, the government 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 deal and announced the partnership, that this will take time and it will take time for a variety of reasons,” Priti Patel told the BBC.

“We see a number of obstacles and barriers, mainly from specialized law firms that want to block the removal of individuals who do not have the right to be in our country,” added the interior minister.

The Interior Ministry, the government department in charge of dealing with immigration to Britain, said a group of illegal immigrants, including some who crossed the English Channel illegally from France, will be informed of their pending removal to Rwanda this summer. week.

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

In addition to individual lawyers, pro-migrant activist groups such as Care4Calais and Detention Action are already preparing to launch joint legal action against Rwanda’s plan as a whole, along with the Public Servants and Commercial Services Union.

So far this year, more than 7,500 illegal immigrants have crossed the English Channel from France. As well as taking the strain off Britain’s asylum system, the government said it hoped the plan to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda would prevent future migrants from attempting the often dangerous journey down the busy waterway.

While some conservatives claimed the deterrent effect was already taking place after an 11-day break in boats crossing the English Channel last month, following a lull in bad weather conditions, boats have started to depart again, with hundreds more landings. on the beaches of Great Britain.

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

The government has been warned that up to 100,000 foreigners could enter the country via the route by the end of the year, more than three times the total seen during last year’s record of more than 28,000.

Farage also demanded that the government release the UK from the European Court of Human Rights, which despite leaving the European Union, the UK is still bound as the court operates outside the EU. While the post-Brexit government has passed legislation granting more authority to remove immigrants, left-wing lawyers can still challenge the plans by appealing to the European court.

Interior Secretary Priti Patel said the growing number of boats leaving the beaches of France, an EU member state, was “exactly why we changed our laws”.

She added that the agreement signed with Rwanda to house migrants is “sending a clear signal that those who arrive in our country illegally will not have the right to remain in our country, and we will use all the tools and all the laws we have. at our disposal to make sure we can remove them.”

However, migrants in Calais, one of France’s central hubs from which the boats are launched, said the British government’s threats would not stop them from trying to reach the UK. Another blow to the potential for a deterrent effect is that an internal analysis by the Ministry of the Interior found that the government could only deport 300 migrants to Rwanda this year.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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