HOME Secretary Suella Braverman was all smiles yesterday as she told of her hopes that the first Channel migrants will be flown to Rwanda by this summer.
She spoke after signing a new deal with her counterpart in the African nation’s capital Kigali.
Suella Braverman is confident the first Channel migrants will be flown to Rwanda by this summer.
Ms Braverman was in Rwanda to strengthen relations with the landlocked African country
It “seals the loopholes” in the existing multi-million pound agreement to take deported illegal migrants from the UK and opens the way to flights by the summer.
It also means anyone — not just the small boats asylum seekers — arriving illegally can be sent to Rwanda, including those with human rights and modern slavery claims.
Ms Braverman vowed to “move quickly” if the plan survives left-wing court challenges.
And she put meddling Strasbourg judges on notice that the UK could quit the European Convention of Human Rights if they continued to “thwart” the plan — warning: “Nothing is off the table ultimately.”
On the first day of her Rwanda trip Ms Braverman:
- INSISTED that “Rwanda is ready” to take potentially thousands of deported refugees.
- VOWED to put an end to “spurious claims” and “delaying tactics” for good.
- HIT out at the UK public’s “gross misconception” about the country.
Her first trip to the nation as Home Secretary is to prove the groundwork is in place as soon as deportations get the green light from judges.
Countless wrecking bids mounted by campaigners have meant not a single plane has taken off since the partnership was initially signed by her predecessor Priti Patel in April last year.
But defiant Ms Braverman was yesterday confident of a Court of Appeal victory next month — and promised “flights will take off” once it does.
She said: “We’re working to make this happen as soon as possible.
And there is every possibility that we can move quickly if we get a good line of judgment in our favour.”
A Government source added: “We are certainly working towards getting the flights off before summer.”
The Home Secretary insisted PM Rishi Sunak’s Illegal Migration Bill will help to ram removals past lengthy legal battles.
She said: “What we’ve seen is that our legal process gets gummed up with spurious claims of modern slavery, delaying tactics or asylum claims, and this Bill aims to fix all of that.”
And she blasted the “serious issues with the balance” that currently allows Strasbourg judges to overrule the UK Government.
She added: “Our Bill as proposed doesn’t take us out of the ECHR but nothing is off the table ultimately.”
The new agreement expands the deportation scheme beyond “asylum seekers” to all illegal migrants.
A Government source said: “It ensures anyone travelling to the UK illegally will be detained and swiftly removed under the Illegal Migration Bill irrespective of the claim they bring — whether that be asylum, human rights, modern slavery or nothing at all. It seals off all the loopholes.”
Earlier Ms Braverman visited Riverside estate in Kigali where 15,000 people, including removed migrants, can be housed in 2,500 homes.
Touring a two-bed new-build, she beamed: “These houses are really beautiful, high quality, welcoming and I quite like your interior design.”
She joked: “I might need some advice!”
The detached property — with a drive, back garden, and fibre optic connection — will sell for £25,000.
A chunk of the £140million Britain has sent Rwanda as part of the asylum deal is helping to fund the infrastructure.
It is being constructed at impressive speed, with houses built from scratch within two weeks by ten people.
The Home Office hopes many deported migrants will become builders on arrival and help with construction.
An unskilled labourer on the site earns around £4 per day.
Refugees deported from the UK to the landlocked country will be processed in hotels before being placed in longer term accommodation.
They will then be either handed the title deeds for a property and given help with payments or allowed to live rent-free for a period.
Ms Braverman declared: “Rwanda is clearly ready.”
Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo agreed: “We are going to be ready to absorb the thousands that will come from the UK along the life of this partnership.”
Asked about Ms Braverman branding Rwanda a “deterrent”, the official said: “We don’t consider living in Rwanda a punishment. Living in Rwanda is a good thing.
“We literally built this country from scratch. We’re very proud of what we’ve done here, of how we’re delivering for Rwandans.”
Ms Braverman said: “What I would say is that there is a gross misperception about Rwanda in the UK, actually.
“This is my third visit to Rwanda in the last 15 years or so and Rwanda is a safe country.
“And that’s not just me saying that — it’s our High Court saying it in an exhaustive judgment.”
Ms Braverman added: “I’m really confident on the back of the progress that I’ve seen here in Kigali that we will be able to operationalise this world-leading agreement very, very soon.”
She will meet Rwandan president Paul Kagame today.
Ms Braverman witnessed homes being built in Rwanda’s capital Kigali
Britain aims to offset the constant arrivals in small boats by deporting migrants to Rwanda
Ms Braverman signed an enhanced partnership deal with Rwandan minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, Vincent Biruta