UK Supreme Court Battle Over Rwanda Deportation Policy Begins

The UK’s highest court will hear the Conservative government’s plan to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda on Monday, a highly contentious step intended to discourage illegal immigration.

The British government has made illegal immigration a priority, promising to prohibit migrant boats from crossing the English Channel.

The government presents the expulsion of migrants to Rwanda, a country with which London has an agreement, as a critical tool for accomplishing this goal, but the scheme is still stalled in the courts.

Following a judgement by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), an initial flight was canceled in mid-2022.

The Court of Appeal in London determined at the end of June that the initiative was “illegal” and that Rwanda could not be designated a “safe third country.”

As a result, there was “a real risk that people sent to Rwanda would be returned to their country of origin, where they were subject to persecution and other inhuman treatment” , according to the court’s ruling.

Far from giving up, the administration has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, claiming that Rwanda is a “safe country.” The three-day hearing before five judges is scheduled.

The judgment, which is due in a few weeks, will be keenly awaited by Rishi Sunak’s government.

With general elections scheduled for January 2025, the Conservatives are trailing the Labour opposition in the polls.

“Extremely costly”

The government’s stance on illegal immigration remains firm. In July, London passed legislation prohibiting individuals who entered the country illegally from seeking asylum, regardless of the circumstances for their departure.

The United Nations condemned the bill as violating international law and voiced fear that “other countries, including those in Europe,” may be enticed to follow suit.

Suella Braverman, the right-wing British Home Secretary, assailed the Geneva Convention, which has defined refugee status since 1951, in September.

1951, saying that it was “not adapted to modern times”. She also regularly attacks the ECHR.

She warned of the impending migratory “hurricane” at the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday, accusing the Labour opposition of wanting to “open the borders.”

She warned of “millions” more migrants arriving on British shores, a “uncontrolled and unmanageable” flood unless the administration in power next year acted “decisively.”

More than 25,000 migrants have crossed the Channel since January. The government boasts that it has managed to bring about a drop after a record year in 2022, with over 45,000 crossings in a single year.

However, the number of asylum seekers awaiting a judgment from British authorities reached a new high at the end of June, with 175,457 applicants awaiting an initial decision on their application, up 43% from the previous year.

Rishi Sunak and Giorgia Meloni, leader of the post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia party, issued a joint statement on Friday urging on European countries to take immediate action to address the “moral crisis” represented by illegal immigration.

It is a “European crisis”, they wrote, because it is up to the European states “to decide who comes to Europe, not the smugglers and traffickers”.

On Sunday, Labour opposition leader Keir Starmer said he would reverse plans to deport migrants to Rwanda if he became prime minister.

“It’s the wrong policy, and it’s extremely expensive”, he said on the BBC. He promised to work with other countries to “dismantle the criminal gangs involved in the despicable trade” of smuggling migrants.

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