Liz Truss has recommitted to sorting out the UK borders, as the Government has thrown its weight behind the Rwanda migration scheme. Responding to an urgent question in the House of Lords, asking whether the Government still plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, Lord Sharpe of Epsom said: “The Government remains committed to delivering the partnership between the UK and Rwanda”. Lord Sharpe, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Home Office, said the scheme will help to “break the business model of people smugglers and prevent further loss of life in the Channel.”
He added: “Working together, the UK and Rwanda will help make the immigration system fairer and ensure that people are safe and enjoy new opportunities to flourish.”
The scheme, unveiled by the Johnson administration, will see asylum seekers arriving in the UK deported to Rwanda for processing.
The Government has so far failed to deport a single person to Rwanda as a result of legal challenges.
Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who resigned earlier today, previously accepted it will take months before the policy can be implemented because of legal challenges.
Asked whether it would be realistic to expect migrants to be sent to Rwanda before Christmas, Ms Braverman told the Conservative party conference: “That would be amazing but if I’m honest I think it’s going to take long.”
She later admitted that the Government was “failing” on the Rwanda scheme but said she is committed to making it work.
The Rwanda migrant scheme has faced controversy since its inception, with human rights campaigners seeking to block the scheme from advancing.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants described the Rwanda scheme as “unspeakably cruel”.
“Over 100 people have been told the Home Office intends to deport them, with the first flight scheduled on Tuesday 14 June.
“Children and young people with family members in the UK face being sent to a country with a poor record on human rights – as the UK itself pointed out as recently as last January.”
But when the scheme was announced, Mr Johnson said the Government had expected it would be hit by “attacks” from people who support an “open-doors approach to immigration”.
He said: “We have always said that we knew that this policy would attract attacks from those who want to have a completely open-doors approach to immigration, who want people to be able to come across the Channel without let or hindrance.
“There are very active lawyers in this field.
“I have the utmost respect for the legal profession but it is also important we stop criminal gangs.”