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Migrant dies across English Channel after UK approves Rwandan deportation bill

Migrant dies across English Channel after UK approves Rwandan deportation bill

 


The congressional gridlock that had stalled the bill for two months was finally broken shortly after midnight when the unelected Senate acknowledged the elected House's primacy and scrapped the last proposed amendment, clearing the way for the bill to become law. .

Earlier in the day, Chancellor Sunak held a rare morning press conference to demand that Lords stop blocking his key proposals to end the waves of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats, calling for both houses of parliament to meet until they are approved. I promised I would continue. He promised that his deportation flights would begin in July.

The legislative deadlock is just the latest obstacle delaying implementation of the plan, which has been repeatedly blocked by a series of court rulings and opposition from human rights activists. Immigrant advocates have vowed to keep fighting.

For nearly two years our enemies have been using every trick in the book to stop the fight and keep the boats coming, Sunak told reporters in London on Monday morning. But enough. No more preconceptions or delays.

The government plans to deport some of those who entered the UK illegally to Rwanda in a bid to deter migrants risking their lives in leaky inflatable boats in the hope that they will be able to claim asylum once they reach the UK.

Despite parliament's approval of the bill, further court challenges could still delay deportation flights, said Tim Bale, a politics professor at Queen Mary University of London.

I don't think it's necessarily at home and dry, he said. We will see attempts to legally prevent deportation.

Sunak has staked his political future on the deportation flights as a key part of his promise to voters to stop the boats, with opinion polls showing the Conservatives well behind Labor ahead of a general election later this year. Next week's local elections are expected to be a measure of how each party will perform in the general election.

The debate in Britain comes as countries across Western Europe and North America seek ways to slow the rise in immigration numbers as war, climate change and political repression force people to flee their homes.

Small boat crossings are a serious political problem in the UK, where they are seen as evidence of the government's failure to control immigration.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds a press conference at 10 Downing Street in London on Monday. Toby Melville / AFP – Getty Images

The number of migrants arriving in the UK by small boat has jumped from 299 four years ago to 45,774 in 2022. That's because refugees paid thousands of pounds (dollars) to criminal gangs to cover the costs of crossing the Channel.

Last year, small boat arrivals fell to 29,437 as the government cracked down on smugglers and agreed to repatriate Albanians to their homeland.

The most important takeaway, I think, is how desperate the government is to get this bill passed because it can at least pay a down payment on its promise to stop boats, Bale said.

Sunak admitted he would not meet his original deadline for the first deportation flights to take off this spring, but blamed the delay on continued resistance from the opposition Labor Party.

On Monday, Chancellor Sunak said the first flights would take off within 10 to 12 weeks, but declined to provide details on how many people would be deported or when exactly the flights would take place. That's because, he said, the information could help opponents continue their attempts to thwart the policy. .

To prepare for approving the legislation, the government has already chartered aircraft for deportation flights, increased detention space, hired more immigration caseworkers and freed up court space to handle appeals, Sunak said.

He also suggested the government was prepared to ignore the European Court of Human Rights if it tried to stop deportations.

“We are ready, we have a plan in place and these flights will go no matter what,” Sunak said. No foreign court will stop us from taking off our flights.

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