Posted on December 22, 2022

Rwanda Migrant Plan Is Lawful, High Court Rules

Rachel Russell and Jasmine Andersson, BBC, December 19, 2022

The government’s plan to deport migrants to Rwanda is lawful, the High Court has ruled.

The court ruled on Monday that the scheme did not breach the UN’s Refugee Convention or human rights laws.

But the cases of eight asylum seekers had not been “properly considered” and would need to be reconsidered, judges added.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she is committed to making the Rwanda policy work.

A hearing will take place in January to deal with any appeal applications.

Ms Braverman said: “We have always maintained that this policy is lawful and today the court has upheld this.

“I am committed to making this partnership work – my focus remains on moving ahead with the policy as soon as possible and we stand ready to defend against any further legal challenge.”

Criticising the government’s decision to progress with the plans, Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called the policy “unworkable, extortionate and deeply damaging”.

Responding to a statement by Ms Braverman in the Commons, she said: “Instead of sorting out problems with the asylum system, the Conservatives have put forward a plan which risks making trafficking worse.”

But Ms Braverman accused Labour of “seeking to go behind a decision set out by our independent judiciary to suggest this is an illegitimate scheme”.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the government’s plan to deport some people to Rwanda back in April.

The first deportation flight, which was due to take off on 14 June, was grounded following a series of objections from lawyers for several asylum seekers, along with the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and charities Care4Calais and Detention Action.

Rishi Sunak said he welcomed the High Court ruling, calling it a “common sense position” that was supported by “the vast majority of the British public”.

Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to Riga, Latvia, the prime minister said: “We’ve always maintained that our Rwanda policy is lawful, and I’m pleased that was confirmed today.”

Alison Thewliss, the SNP’s home affairs spokesperson at Westminster, called the Rwanda plan “deeply immoral”.

She told the Commons: “Those fleeing war, famine and oppression deserve and need our full support.”

Responding to Ms Thewliss, Home Office Minister Robert Jenrick said the plans were designed to “simplify” a “too complicated and too bureaucratic” immigration system.

He said: “The Scottish government are refusing to take any of the asylum seekers who are arriving in the UK on small boats. That is not right. There is a widening gulf between the actions of the Scottish government and their rhetoric.”