Ministers ‘forced’ to send immigrants to Rwanda, says Oliver Dowden | Political news

The government “doesn’t like” deporting migrants to Rwanda but is “forced” to follow the controversial policy due to the increase in Canal crossings, a cabinet minister has said.

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

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

Listing the reasons why the government is being “forced” into this policy, Dowden said: “With those children seeking to cross the Channel, I think of the danger to their lives, the evil human traffickers in whose hands they are.” replaced.

“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 little children. And I’m just not willing to let that happen.” that happen”.

Labor’s Lisa Nandy asked what the government has been “forced to do” as she noted that the £140m deportation plan has yet to get off the ground since it was launched last April.

She said “everyone accepts” that the small boat crossings amount to a “crisis…but the question is what the government is doing so far.”

Ms Nandy said: “They’ve done various PR and photo opportunities. We’ve had £140m in checks written to Rwanda to implement a scheme that hasn’t taken out a single person. This is just more stunting from this government.”

The shadow housing secretary said the government should use the money spent on the “unfeasible and unethical scheme” and put it in the National Crime Agency “to create a cross-border cell to disrupt criminal gangs that benefit people’s lives”. misery”.

She insisted that this was not a “magic wand fix”, saying that “what you are doing is the difficult yards that this government has not been prepared to do.”

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Lisa Nandy criticizes Rwanda politics

Read more:
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Migration bill ‘will seal all loopholes’

The Rwanda scheme has been bogged down by legal challenges since Priti Patel, the Home Secretary at the time, launched it almost a year ago, but a government source told Sky News that UK officials are working. so that the flights begin “for the summer.”

Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, signed an updated migrant agreement during a visit to the African country this weekend, expanding its scope to “all categories of people passing through safe countries and making illegal and dangerous journeys to the UK “.

A Home Office statement said this would allow ministers to fulfill their new Illegal Migration Law as it would mean that those who come to the UK illegally, who “cannot be returned to their country of origin”, will be “in a position to be resettled in Rwanda”.

The government source said it would “seal all the loopholes” for those arriving illegally, including those who claim to be victims of modern slavery.

Suella Braverman looked around migrant housing in Rwanda and (below) toured a construction training academy
The Interior Minister tours a new training academy under construction in Kigali during her visit to Rwanda.
The Interior Minister tours a new training academy under construction in Kigali during her visit to Rwanda.

Dowden defends ‘deaf’ comment

Ms Braverman’s trip has been embroiled in controversy after some members of the media were barred from attending.

He has also faced criticism for joking about interior design while touring possible accommodation for asylum seekers.

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

“I need advice for myself.”

Asked if that was “deaf”, Dowden told Ridge: “Contrary to some of these characterizations of politics, it’s about making sure there’s a safe place for people to go and actually the purpose of the policy of the Minister of the 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 the flight was stopped late in June last year after an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, and none have gotten off the ground since.

The scheme is seen as central to Rishi Sunak’s plan to “stop the ships”, a pledge on which he has staked his premiership.

Throughout 2022, some 45,728 people crossed into the UK through the Canal – 60% more than the previous year.

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

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

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