Obstacle Course

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The British government’s long-debated policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing was passed by parliament Tuesday, following years of legal battles, political hurdles and criticism from the United Nations and human rights groups, the Wall Street Journal reported.

So far, the United Kingdom has paid Rwanda nearly $300 million to take asylum seekers, but none have been sent since an initial agreement was made in 2022 to reduce the number of migrants and asylum seekers because of a series of court battles and resistance from lawmakers within the ruling Conservative Party.

Last year, the UK’s Supreme Court ruled that Rwanda was not a safe place for refugees, saying the country did not have safeguards to ensure legitimate asylum seekers wouldn’t have their claims wrongly rejected and be returned to their country of origin, where they could face persecution – a violation of international law.

The ruling prompted the British government to negotiate additional safeguards with Rwanda and pass a motion stating that Rwanda was a safe country: On Tuesday, the Lords, the UK’s upper house of Parliament, approved a new bill that will bar British courts from blocking deportations on the grounds that Rwanda is an unsafe destination.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the policy as a “genuine game-changer” in the government’s effort to tackle illegal migration, particularly those making the dangerous trip across the English Channel. He added that the first flights would depart “come what may” in the upcoming months.

Even so, the UN’s refugee agency and other human rights groups remain opposed to the plan due to concerns the UK will be violating its commitments to international law. Others questioned whether the plan would actually deter migrants from coming to the UK.

Meanwhile, the British public and politicians remain divided over the policy. While some Conservative lawmakers warned that the plan is incompatible with the UK’s responsibilities under international human rights law, others complained that it was not tough enough, NPR added.

Curbing illegal migration is one of Sunak’s key promises to voters. The general elections are to be held later this year.

Legal analysts said the deportation measure will likely face court challenges and a reluctance by airlines to carry these deportees to Rwanda.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at hello@dailychatter.com.

Copy link