Ministers ‘being forced’ to send migrants to Rwanda, says Oliver Dowden | policy news

The government “doesn’t like” deporting migrants to Rwanda but is being “forced” to follow the controversial policy because of increased crossings across the English Channel, a cabinet minister said.

Oliver Dowden was asked by Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday whether he is “comfortable” with the idea of ​​sending children and families to the East African country if they arrive in the UK illegally.

He said:I don’t like any of it and I really wish we didn’t have to do this… we’re being forced to do this.”

Listing the reasons why the government is being “forced” to adopt this policy, Dowden said: “With these children trying to cross the English Channel, I think of the danger their lives are being placed in, the smugglers of wicked people in whose hands are are placed.

“And unless we are willing as a government and as a country to take tough action on this, the numbers will continue to grow and more people’s lives will be put at risk, the lives of young children. And I’m just not willing to let that happen.” that happen.”

Lisa Nandy of the Labor Party asked what the government has been “forced to do”, pointing out that the £140m deportation scheme has yet to start since it was launched last April.

She said that “everyone accepts” that the small boat crossings represent a “crisis … but the question is what is the government really doing so far?”

Mrs. Nandy said: “They’ve done a number of PR and photo ops opportunities. We’ve had £140m in checks written to Rwanda in order to implement a scheme that hasn’t removed a single person. This is just more trickery by this government.”

The shadow secretary for Housing said the government should use the money being spent on the “unethical and impractical scheme” and put it in the National Crime Agency “to create a cross-border cell to stop the criminal gangs that are profiting from with people’s income”. misery”.

She insisted that this was not a “magic wand solution”, saying “what it is doing is the difficult yards that this government was not prepared to do”.

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Lisa Nandy criticizes Rwandan politics

See more information:
Asylum seekers are going underground in fear of being deported to Rwanda
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Migration bill ‘will close all loopholes’

The Rwandan scheme has been stalled by legal challenges since it was launched nearly a year ago by Priti Patel, the home secretary at the time, but a government source said Sky News UK officials were working to start flights “in the summer”.

Suella Braverman, the home secretary, signed an update to the migrant agreement during a visit to the African country this weekend, expanding its scope to “all categories of people who pass through safe countries and make illegal and dangerous journeys to the UK”. United”.

A statement from the Ministry of Interior said this would allow ministers to fulfill their new Illegal Migration Bill as it would mean that those who come to the UK illegally, who “cannot be returned to their country of origin”, will be “in scope of being relocated to Rwanda”.

The government source said it would “close all loopholes” for those arriving illegally, including those claiming to be victims of modern day slavery.

Suella Braverman searched for migrant housing in Rwanda and (below) visited a training academy under construction
The Home Secretary visits a new training academy under construction in Kigali during her visit to Rwanda
The Home Secretary visits a new training academy under construction in Kigali during her visit to Rwanda

Dowden defends ‘deaf’ comment

Braverman’s trip was shrouded in controversy after some members of the media were excluded from going along.

She also faced criticism for making fun of the interior design while visiting possible accommodations for asylum seekers.

Looking inside one of the properties, she said: “These houses are really beautiful, great quality, very welcoming and I really like their interior designer.

“I need some advice for myself.”

Asked if this was “tone deaf”, Dowden told Ridge: “Contrary to some of these characterizations of the policy, it’s about making sure there’s a safe and secure place for people to go, and really the point of the Ministry of Interior visit was to further strengthen our relations with Rwanda.”

The UN and human rights activists have warned that Rwanda is not a safe country to send asylum seekers, particularly those who are LGBT+.

the first deportation flight was interrupted at the last minute of June last year, after an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights – and none have taken off since.

The scheme is seen as central to Rishi Sunak’s plan to “stop the boats” – a pledge on which he has staked his prime ministerial post.

Throughout 2022, some 45,728 people crossed into the UK via Canal – an increase of 60% over the previous year.

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Earlier this month, the Prime Minister announced a package that will include a new detention center established in France as well as deploying more French personnel and improved technology to patrol the beaches in a shared effort to reduce illegal migration.

However, the EU and UN are among those who have warned that a new bill to ban asylum claims if people enter the UK by unauthorized means breaches international law.

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