Rwanda asylum plan: Man fails in High Court bid to avoid first removal flighton June 14, 2022 at 12:41 pm

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Up to eight people are due to be on Tuesday’s flight but at least three more appeals are being heard.

A woman in a crowd holds a sign saying 'stop the plane'Image source, Reuters

An asylum seeker due to be on the first flight from the UK to Rwanda has failed in his bid to avoid being removed.

Up to eight people are due to be on Tuesday evening’s flight but at least three more appeals against being removed are still being heard.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted that Tuesday’s flight would leave.

A No 10 spokesman later said, given the ongoing legal challenge he could not be definitive as to whether the flight would take off on Tuesday.

The cases lodged on behalf of people set to be flown to the east African nation’s capital Kigali will heard before the flight departs, after a last-ditch attempt to block the flight altogether was rejected by the Court of Appeal on Monday.

This judgement was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

On Monday 138 people reached the UK in three boats, with more than 10,000 migrants making the dangerous journey so far this year.

Speaking in cabinet earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused lawyers for the migrants of “abetting the work of criminal gangs” and said the government is “going to get on and deliver” on its plan.

He told ministers the objective is to ensure there is a “clear distinction” between immigration to the UK by safe and legal routes that the government supports and “dangerous and illegal cross-Channel migration, which we intend to stop”.

The flight on Tuesday evening was originally due to carry dozens of passengers, but most succeeded in their individual appeals against removal.

It is not clear exactly how many will leave on the flight: on Monday night, the Home Office said it was eight, while the charity Care4Calais said the number had fallen to seven.

Before Mr Johnson addressed cabinet, Ms Truss told the BBC the flight would leave even if a very small number of people were on it, as it would “establish the principle” of the policy to break the business models of people traffickers.

She said: “If people aren’t on the flight today, they will be on subsequent flights to Rwanda.”

Boeing 767-35D/ER operated by airline Privileged Style

Image source, AirTeamImages

In a letter to the Times, senior Church of England leaders described the plan as an “immoral policy that shames Britain”.

Signed by the archbishops of Canterbury and York and more than 20 other bishops who sit in the House of Lords, the letter said that “those to be deported to Rwanda have had no chance to appeal, or reunite with family in Britain”.

“They have had no consideration of their asylum claim, recognition of their medical or other needs, or any attempt to understand their predicament.”

Mr Johnson also told ministers criticism of the plan was “undermining people’s confidence in the safe and legal system, undermining people’s general acceptance of immigration”.

He said: “We are not going to be in any way deterred or abashed by some of the criticism that is being directed upon this policy, some of it from slightly unexpected quarters.”

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Tuesday’s flight is due to be the first in a five-year trial, in which some asylum seekers deemed to have entered the UK illegally are transported to Rwanda to claim refuge there.

They will get accommodation and support while the Rwandan government considers their application, and if they are successful they can stay in the country with up to five years’ access to education and support.

If their asylum claim is unsuccessful, they will be offered the chance to apply for other immigration routes, but could face deportation from Rwanda.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the plane would take off even if no one was on board, Ms Truss said she was confident there will people on the flight – but added she was not able to say how many it would be.

However, she said the numbers of people being sent to Rwanda by the end of the year “will be significant”.

She also declined to say how much the flight would cost, but argued the cost of human trafficking and illegal immigration was “huge” to the taxpayer.

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