Rwanda asylum plan: Timeline of goverment’s policy to deport migrants
The Home Secretary doubled down on the Government’s commitment to the Rwanda deportation policy during a trip the country this weekend.
During her visit, Suella Braverman is due to meet President Paul Kagame and her counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.
This is how events leading up to the trip unfolded.
April 14: Following a drastic increase in the number of people crossing the Channel, then-prime minister Boris Johnson announces a plan to deport migrants arriving in small boats to Rwanda for their claims to be processed. He says this would act as a “very considerable deterrent”.
June 15: The first deportation flight to Rwanda is cancelled just minutes before take-off following a ruling by a judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
August 23: The Ministry of Defence says 1,295 migrants made the crossing in 27 boats, another new record which remains the highest figure for a single day.
August 25: Former home secretary Priti Patel announces an agreement with the Albanian government to curb the numbers of migrants from that country amid concerns they account for 60% of all those arriving in the UK.
November 14: New Home Secretary Suella Braverman signs an agreement with French interior minister Gerald Darmian allowing British officers to join French beach patrols.
November 23: Ms Braverman admits the Government has “failed to control our borders”, but tells MPs they are determined to “fix” the problem, following criticism of overcrowding at the Manston processing centre in Kent.
December 14: Four people die while 39 others are rescued after their dinghy capsized in the Channel.
December 19: The High Court rules the Government’s Rwanda policy is lawful, but orders the cases of the first eight deportees to be reconsidered.
December 31: 45,755 migrants made the Channel crossing over the course of the year, according to Government figures.
January 4: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces legislation to tackle the migrant crisis is one of five key priorities for his premiership.
March 7: Ms Braverman tells MPs the Illegal Migration Bill will impose a legal duty to remove those arriving in the country illegally, barring them from claiming asylum in the UK.
March 10: Tensions mount as Mr Sunak defends the policy as “the right approach” against criticism from sports pundit Gary Lineker which led to a high-profile impartiality row at the BBC and numerous colleagues threatening to boycott Match Of The Day in solidarity with the presenter.
March 12: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt does not rule out the prospect of children being detained under the new plans, which would see those crossing the Channel eligible for asylum only in a “safe” third country such as Rwanda.
March 13: The plan draws criticism from former Tory prime minister Theresa May, who says it is “not enough” to send people to claim asylum in Rwanda and warns the UK is “shutting the door” on victims of modern slavery as it currently stands.
March 14: A High Court judge rules that asylum seekers facing removal to Rwanda can appeal against Home Office decisions over alleged errors in the consideration of whether relocation poses a risk to their human rights, dealing another blow to the plan.
March 17: Ms Braverman doubles down on the deportation policy on a visit to Rwanda despite the plan remaining embroiled in legal battles, claiming the £140 million deal will be a “powerful deterrent” to those attempting to cross the Channel.
March 18: Ms Braverman is given a tour of potential migrant housing after the land was purchased by the Rwandan government, ahead of meeting with President Paul Kagame and her counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.
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