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Rwanda migration deal: “a gimmick that doesn't act as a deterrent,” new UK PM says

A placard left outside the High Court where the ruling on Rwanda deportation flights is taking place, in London Monday, June 13, 2022.   -  
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Alastair Grant/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved


The first deportation flights bound for Rwanda from the UK will eventually not take off.

The former British Prime Minister had vowed they'd leave the UK by early July but the downfall of his party at the latest election has upset his plans.

All was ready in Rwanda to welcome the deported asylum-seekers, though.

Speaking on Saturday (Jul. 6), newly elected PM Keir Starmer said the asylum and migration plan that was first signed in 2022 was never effective.

"It has never acted as a deterrent. Almost the opposite, because everybody has worked out, particularly the gangs that run this, that the chance of ever going to Rwanda was so slim, less than 1%, that it was never a deterrent. The chances were not going and not being processed and staying here. Therefore, being paid for accommodation for a very, very long time. It's had the complete opposite effect. And I'm not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don't act as a deterrent.".

The Rwanda plan provided that the asylum applications of some migrants crossing the English Channel to reach Britain would be processed in Rwanda.

The Conservatives presented the deal as "a significant deterrent" so that people would stop crossing the English Channel to reach the UK.

The controversy surrounds the deal was also its cost, the UK government's spending watchdog National Audit Office revealed in March that up to $190, 000 would be paid for each person sent to Rwanda over a five-year period.

Rwandan Gatete Ruhumuliza consultant regrets the ditching of the plan.

"All we know is that because we were all once refugees ourselves, we cannot mistreat refugees. I was born in exile, my mother and father were born in exile, our president today was raised in exile, he left when he was four or five. There is hardly any Rwandan intelligentsia or people who have not experienced exile. This is an issue close to our heart.”

Had the application of migrants deported to Rwanda been unsuccessful, they could have stayed in the eastern African nation.

About 29,000 migrants crossed the British Channel in 2023.

Kigali is yet to react to the ditching of the plan.

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