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UK Parliament Greenlights Controversial Rwanda Deportation Bill

by Violet Dawson
0 comment

Humanitarian groups like the International Rescue Committee, disagree with this view. According to them, the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is “ineffective, unnecessary, and expensive.”

Rishi Sunak’s push for the Rwanda deportation bill finally made it through parliament, with peers giving up on their attempts to change it. This could lead to legal fights over the deportation of lots of asylum seekers.

After a lot of back and forth between the Commons and the Lords, the bill finally cleared its last hurdle on Monday night when the opposition and crossbench peers agreed.

Expected to get royal assent on Tuesday, the bill could have major implications for asylum seekers who arrive in the UK through irregular means. It would give the government the power to deport them to Kigali, Rwanda, which is central to Sunak’s plan to reduce the number of small boat crossings in the English Channel.

Home Secretary James Cleverly considers the bill a “landmark moment” for the government’s efforts to cut down on the number of migrants arriving in the country. He believes that the bill would help stop people from misusing human rights claims to stop their deportation and show that the UK parliament is in control.

Humanitarian groups like the International Rescue Committee, on the other hand, disagree with this view. According to them, the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is “ineffective, unnecessary, and expensive.”

The organization’s director of advocacy, Denisa Delic, stated that the government must focus on making a fairer and more orderly immigration system, with more safe ways for people to get resettled and be reunited with their families.

The Home Office has picked out about 350 asylum seekers with weak legal claims who could be among the first to be sent to Rwanda in July. But lawyers are expected to help these people fight their deportation in court. The bill allows challenges if the individuals face a “real, imminent, and foreseeable risk of serious irreversible harm” if removed to Rwanda.

An appeal must be lodged within eight days of receiving the deportation letter. The Home Office is then given several days to respond. In case the appeal gets rejected, the individual claiming asylum is given seven days to lodge one final appeal to an upper tribunal court, which will decide their claim within the next 23 days.

While the government has promised that the process is safe, there remain concerns about the effectiveness and cost of the deportation scheme. Matthew Rycroft, the senior-most civil servant in the Home Office overseeing the scheme, has told MPs that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that it would act as a deterrent. There are also worries that thousands of asylum seekers could go into hiding to avoid being deported.

During all the debates in the parliament, MPs got rid of amendments added by the Lords, setting the stage for a fight between the two chambers. The government assured people that those eligible under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) would not be deported to Rwanda.

While the bill’s passage is a big win for the government, critics still have concerns about its possible consequences. Lord Anderson of Ipswich, a lawyer and crossbencher, thinks the bill could hurt people’s rights and make it harder for judges to make fair decisions.

Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, has promised that the first flights to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will leave within the next 10 to 12 weeks. Despite heavy criticism from the opposition, Sunak stayed firm in his commitment to ending the “legal merry-go-round” around deportation flights. Labour accused Sunak of blaming opposition peers for delays in the bill’s passage when the Tories were really to blame themselves.

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