What Deterrence? Rwanda Reveals It Only Has Space to Take 200 Migrants from Britain

KIGALI, RWANDA - APRIL 1: Home Secretary of the United Kingdom Priti Patel (L) and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta (R) sign an agreement on "Migration and Economic Development Partnership Agreement" inn Kigali, Rwanda on April 14, 2022. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Cyril Ndegeya/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Rwanda has revealed that it only has the capacity to house 200 migrants from the United Kingdom after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government signed a £120 million deal to transfer tens of thousands of illegals there while their asylum claims are processed.

Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said on Friday that currently the country has only converted one location into an asylum centre for migrants from Britain. The Hope Hostel in the capital city of Kigali, she said, is the only location ready to fulfil the deal inked with Britain in April, and can only accommodate up to 200 people at a time.

This comes despite the British government already handing over £120 million to Rwanda, which had allegedly already been devoted to preparing for the first deportation flights from the United Kingdom, The Times reported.

The flights have been put on hold until October at the earliest, when the government will face down pro-migration charities and unions in a High Court challenge on the legality of the scheme, the plan having been thrown into chaos last month after the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) controversially intervened to block a deportation flight to Rwanda following a last minute legal challenge brought forward by an illegal migrant from Iraq.

Though the promise of Brexit was to “take back control” of the nation’s borders, the government of Boris Johnson failed to remove the United Kingdom from the jurisdiction of the ECtHR, as it is technically independent of the European Union, despite it sharing the same anthem and flag.

To date, neither Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss, the two Tories vying to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, have committed to leaving the European Court of Human Rights.

Even before the ECtHR intervened to block the deportation flight, there were questions as to how effective the plan would be in removing illegals from the country or indeed at fulfilling its stated goal of acting as a deterrent for further attempts by migrants to reach the country via illicit means.

Indeed, leaked analysis from the Home Office in May revealed that the government only expected to be able to remove 300 migrants to Rwanda this year, a far cry from the tens of thousands Boris Johnson had promised. Therefore, ironically, the 200 capacity hotel in Kigali may be more than enough space for this year.

Spokeswoman Makolo did say that Rwanda could “scale up very quickly” and that they have identified other sites should the British government actually successfully start sending migrants there, however.

The deterrence factor of the plan has also been lacking, with 10,000 illegals crossing the English Channel since the plan was announced in mid-April, taking the total for the year to over 15,000 — double the numbers seen during this time last year.

There have been suggestions that, in addition to the government’s failures to implement the Rwanda plan, the deployment of the Royal Navy to coordinate the crisis response in the Channel may in fact be encouraging more migrants to make the journey, as rather than turning around the boats back to France the Navy has merely acted to ensure that migrants arrive safely on British beaches.

An independent review from former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer also accused the “ineffective” response from the Border Force of possibly facilitating more illegal migration from France.

A separate report this week from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Neal, claimed that border officials were consistently failing to record biometric data such as fingerprints as well as correct identities for illegal migrants, allowing many to abscond from hotel accommodations and disappear into the country.

Declaring that the Channel migrant crisis has become a risk to national security, Neal said: “Put simply, if we don’t have a record of people coming into the country, then we do not know who is threatened or who is threatening.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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