UK-Rwanda deportations ruled unlawful
Ministers are reportedly planning to send illegal migrants arriving in the UK on small boats to Ascension Island if the Rwanda policy fails.
Plans for the British overseas territory, located 4,000 miles from the UK in the South Atlantic, to host a processing centre for asylum seekers have been revived after previously being rejected three years ago.
Ministers believe that the volcanic island’s location would deter migrants who are planning to make the journey across the English Channel.
The use of Ascension Island is part of the Government’s “Plan B” contingencies under consideration in case the Rwanda deportation policy has to be abandoned. The deal with Kigali has been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal and is being appealed by Government at Supreme Court.
The Government is also reportedly n talks with at least five other countries, believed to all be in Africa, in an attempt to negotiate a similar deportation deal to the one agreed upon with Rwanda. Any asylum seekers sent to UK territories would not remain there permanently meaning the policy is dependent upon the Government agreeing permanent destinations for migrants.
READ MORE: Illegal migrants could be sent to Ascension Island in ‘plan B’ if Rwanda fails
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A senior government source told The Times: “It’s pragmatic to consider all options and it makes sense to draw up proposals to stop the boats that could work alongside our Rwanda policy.
“We’re still confident that our Rwanda scheme is lawful, but having alternative proposals on the table would provide us with a backup if we’re frustrated legally. Voters would expect us to leave no stone unturned and that is the right and sensible thing to do.”
When asked why the plans for Ascension Island are being looked at again on Sky News, Safeguarding Minister Sarah Dines said “times change”. She added: “This crisis in the Channel is urgent, we need to look at all possibilities and that is what we are doing.”
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Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “They claimed they were going to do this years ago but it never got off the ground. This joins a long list of headline-chasing announcements that are never delivered.
“It’s time the home secretary got serious and did the hard graft to tackle the chaos in the asylum system after 13 years of Tory government. That includes cracking down on the criminal smuggling gangs and clearing the asylum backlog, as Labour has proposed.”
So what do YOU think? Should migrants be sent to Ascension Island if the Rwanda scheme fails? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.
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