Rwanda Migrant Deal: UK PM Labels It Ineffective, Flights Delayed

The first deportation flights from the UK to Rwanda will not take off.

The former British Prime Minister had promised to depart the UK by early July, but his party’s defeat in the most recent election has derailed his plans.

However, Rwanda was fully prepared to receive the deported asylum applicants.

Speaking on Saturday (Jul. 6), newly elected Prime Minister Keir Starmer said the asylum and migration plan, which was first agreed in 2022, was never implemented.

“It has never served as a deterrent. Almost the opposite, because everyone, particularly the gangs that run this, realized that the chances of ever going to Rwanda were so tiny, less than 1%, that it was never a deterrent.

The options included not going, not getting processed, and staying here. As a result, you will get compensated for your lodging for an extremely long period. It has had the precise opposite impact. And I’m not going to keep using gimmicks that aren’t effective deterrents.”
The Rwanda plan said that asylum applications from some migrants crossing the English Channel to reach Britain would be processed in Rwanda.

The Conservatives portrayed the agreement as “a significant deterrent” to prevent individuals from crossing the English Channel to enter the UK.The deal’s cost was also controversial; the UK government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, reported in March that up to $190,000 would be paid for each person transported to Rwanda over a five-year period.

Rwandan Gatete Ruhumuliza, a consultant, regrets abandoning the plan.

“All we know is that because we were ourselves refugees, we cannot abuse them. I was born in exile, as were my mother and father. Our current president was reared in exile, leaving when he was four or five. There is scarcely any Rwandan intellectuals or people who have not been exiled. This is a topic important to our hearts.”
If the migrants who were deported to Rwanda had applied unsuccessfully, they could have remained in the eastern African country.

In 2023, approximately 29,000 migrants crossed the British Channel.

Kigali has yet to react to the cancellation of the proposal.

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