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British prime minister says Rwanda migration policy already working as a deterrent

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak   -  
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Alastair Grant/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said a controversial plan to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda, signed into law on Thursday, is already acting as a deterrent.

Ireland’s deputy premier, Micheal Martin, claimed on Friday there had been a rise in migrants crossing the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic.

Speaking to Sky News, Sunak said this showed the plan was working despite the fact that no flights carrying migrants have taken off yet.

"The deterrent is, according to your comment, already having an impact because people are worried about coming here. And that demonstrates exactly what I'm saying,” he said in the interview aired on Sunday.

“If people come to our country illegally, but know that they won't be able to stay, they're much less likely to come," Sunak said.

The controversial plan is aimed at deterring people from making the risky crossing of the English Channel to reach the United Kingdom.

The number of people arriving in Britain on small boats soared to 45,774 in 2022 from just 299 four years earlier.

Despite approval of the legislation, further court challenges may still delay the deportation flights.

Human rights activists and migrants' groups have vowed to continue the fight against the policy, which they say is unethical and inhumane.

On Friday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame's government said it would take as many migrants as Britain sends.

It said it had temporary housing ready for them, with construction underway on longer-term facilities as migrants go through the asylum process and potentially gain residency.

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