Legal challenges thwart UK government’s plans to deport migrants to Rwanda

The policy announced back in April is in disarray after a flurry of legal challenges were filed by left-wing, pro-migration activists

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
Migrants successfully cross the English Channel to reach the U.K. from the European mainland.

The U.K. government’s latest initiative of deporting illegal immigrants to the African mainland nation of Rwanda for processing is in disarray. After a string of legal challenges from human rights activists, the number of individuals scheduled to depart on Tuesday’s first deportation flight was close to single digits.

The plan, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel back in April, was intended to deter foreign nationals from being exploited by smuggling gangs profiteering from migrants’ desire to claim asylum in the U.K. by undertaking a perilous journey across the English Channel in makeshift vessels.

The U.K. has witnessed record levels of illegal crossings over the last two years, with those reaching British soil often put up in hotel accommodations and receiving benefits at the expense of taxpayers.

At least 130 individuals had been notified they could be deported to Rwanda as of Friday afternoon, with 37 originally scheduled to fly on the first flight out of the U.K on Tuesday. Despite human rights groups failing to win an injunction against the broader government policy in the High Court last week, individual legal challenges have seen the planned number of deportations rapidly reduced to just 11, according to the migrant charity Care4Calais.

According to the Home Office, 26 individuals have won legal stays against their deportation on the grounds of modern slavery and human rights claims; now, just four Iranians, two Iraqis, two Albanians, and one Syrian are currently scheduled to embark on the journey.

The BBC’s Mark Easton has reported that the government is concerned the number on board the flight could be “whittled down to zero” by the time it is scheduled to take off.

The government policy has been heavily criticized by left-wing and pro-migration activists since its introduction, with even the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, reportedly calling the practice “appalling,” a source close to the royal told The Times.

Johnson, during an interview with the Daily Mail in May, acknowledged the frustration the government had experienced with legal opposition from human rights lawyers and campaigners, but insisted the government would “dig in for the fight.”

“There’s going to be a lot of legal opposition from the types of firms that for a long time have been taking taxpayers’ money to mount these sorts of cases and to thwart the will of the people, the will of parliament. We’re ready for that,” Johnson told the newspaper.

In a judgment published on Friday evening dismissing an injunction application against the deportations, the High Court’s Mr. Justice Swift said it was “important for the secretary of state to be able to implement immigration control measures, and preventing that would be prejudicial to the public interest.”

The Court of Appeal is expected to rule on the issue again later today.

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