Sending illegal migrants to Rwanda would deter criminal traffickers

Sending illegal migrants to Rwanda would deter criminal traffickers

May 05, 2022

The Rwanda asylum partnership is a welcome development as the UK faces a rapidly worsening illegal immigration crisis.

This crisis has seen more than 75,600 people reportedly arrive without prior permission by lorry and boat since 1 January 2018 - a total which is nearly equal to the size of the regular full-time British Army (this, as of 1 October 2021, had a 'trained strength' of 77,526 personnel). To monitor illegal Channel activity by the day, go to our Boat Tracking Station.

A new Migration Watch UK paper (MW506 - Potential impact of asylum arrangements with Rwanda) argues that, by breaking the connection between unauthorised arrivals claiming asylum and being able to remain in the UK, the plan should help deter people from setting off from safe countries in the first place.

By doing so, the Rwanda plan could help save lives, restore a legal framework and destroy the business model of the criminal traffickers.

The paper makes a careful study of Australia’s experience of similar arrangements since 2001 (see the Annex of the paper), while also touching on the cases of Denmark and Israel.

It argues that policies such as these, if implemented with care and resolution, have the strong potential to:

  • Deter irregular boat trips. By doing do, they can help prevent drownings and cripple the business model of the criminal people smugglers
  • Stem worsening abuse of our laws and rules while boosting public safety
  • Help to greatly ease pressure on our beleaguered asylum system, on the accommodation stock and on public services such as the NHS, which are already under grave strain as we face cost-of-living, health and housing crises.

To be sure, at the outset the cost of the scheme may be considerable and it may take some years to take full effect.

There is also significant scope for legal challenges that could hamper the plan’s effectiveness.

However, Australia’s experience reveals there to be a powerful deterrent effect on crossings.

That said, the provision in the Bill which commits the UK to taking an unspecified number of the 100,000 refugees currently in Rwanda needs clarification. The public needs to be swiftly informed about the numbers that this would involve, and on what timescale.

Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

The agreement with Rwanda, if implemented with vigour, will help to deter the criminals making millions from trafficking migrants. Implemented with care, humanity and resolution, this plan could deliver a real start on tackling the problem which, if not dealt with now, will go on getting worse.

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