Boris Johnson’s migrant processing plan could see it outsourced to Rwanda

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Under new plans, which are yet to be announced, the Government would pay to fly those seeking asylum in Britain to Rwanda for processing and settlement. But the Prime Minister is facing some opposition, including from his own benches, and has been forced to hold back on making the plans public. A No10 source said Mr Johnson had “wobbled” after colleagues expressed concerns that the plans were not ready.

They told the Times: “He wanted to go ahead with it but it’s just not ready. It’s close but there are still a lot of things in the balance.”

There has been no confirmation migrants would be sent to Rwanda specifically, with the foreign destination of choice appearing shrouded in secrecy.

Home Affairs Minister Susan Williams was asked by Lords yesterday, on Monday, April 4, whether Rwanda had been decided the designated country for offshore processing.

Baroness Williams refused to give specific details of discussions, noting: “All I can say at this point is that the Government are talking to a range of partners. I am sure that Parliament will be fully informed when any of those discussions are concluded.”

There would likely be some backlash to the plans if Rwanda was picked as the designated country.

Journalist Ian Birrell described the idea as “grotesque”.

He wrote in a post on Twitter: “Boris Johnson wants to ‘outsource’ asylum seekers to Rwanda, a dictatorship that has created vast numbers of refugees with aggression in neighbouring countries.

“The hypocrisy given the government’s stance on Putin is simply disgusting.”

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Mr Birrell added there are a number of similarities between Russia and Rwanda regarding their treatment of political opposition, “yet Britain sanctions one and does sleazy deals with the other”.

It is understood discussions were previously held to process migrants in Albania and Ghana, but these later collapsed.

The Nationality and Borders Bill, under which these plans would come to force, has been criticised on other fronts, including by former Brexit Secretary David Davis.

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Mr Davis highlighted the Bill would allow the Home Office to strip people of their British citizenship without them being told.

He told MPs those who would be affected “may not be good people, but then put them in front of our courts and punish them. That’s the way British justice should works [and] that’s the way British democracy should work”.

A Home Office spokesperson late last year defended the plan to send migrants to another country, suggesting it would save lives.

They, quoted in the Guardian, said: “The British public have had enough of seeing people die in the Channel while ruthless criminal gangs profit from their misery. Our new plan for immigration provides the only long-term solution to fix the broken system, and it’s right we keep all the options on the table.”

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