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Britain to Start Deporting Asylum Seekers to Rwanda in July, Pending Election Outcome

British Home Secretary Priti Patel (left), and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, seal asylum seeker deal with a handshake. Photo by Simon Wohlfahrt/AFP via Getty Images

NAIROBI — Britain plans to start deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda on July 24,, a government lawyer said Monday, contingent on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party winning the upcoming general election, Reuters reported.

The controversial plan, which aims to send asylum seekers who arrive in Britain without permission to Rwanda, has faced numerous legal and parliamentary hurdles, preventing its implementation.

Prime Minister Sunak has assured that deportation flights will not commence before the July 4 election but has vowed to initiate them shortly after if re-elected. Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party, currently leading by approximately 20 points in opinion polls, has pledged to abandon the scheme if it comes to power.

In documents filed with the High Court in London as part of a challenge by the charity Asylum Aid, government lawyers stated the intention “to effect removals with a flight to Rwanda on 23 July 2024 (and not before).” However, government lawyer Edward Brown later clarified that an “operational update” from the Home Office indicated the first flight would, in fact, depart on July 24.

The deportation scheme, originally proposed by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2022, is designed to deter asylum seekers from making the perilous journey across the English Channel in small boats from France. Last November, the UK Supreme Court deemed the policy unlawful, prompting Sunak to negotiate a new treaty with Rwanda and push through new legislation to bypass the court’s ruling.

The policy remains a contentious issue in British politics, with significant implications for the country’s approach to immigration and asylum.

© All East Africa

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