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Government's Rwanda Plan Failing To Deter Migrant Crossings, MPs Say

MPs have criticised the government's immigration approach

2 min read

A new report has warned that the government's efforts to curb Channel crossings using the threat of deportation to Rwanda are "unrealistic" and will "not succeed".

Attempts to reduce the number of people making dangerous crossings across the Channel are failing, according to a new report from the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

The study heavily criticised the government's recently introduced policy to deport migrants who arrive illegally in the UK to Rwanda, saying there was "no evidence" it was having a deterrent effect on the number of crossings.

At least 166 people have died or gone missing during attempted crossings, with an estimated 28,500 making the journey in 2021. This year's figure is estimated to top 60,000.

MPs on the committee also condemned Home Secretary Priti Patel's efforts to find a "single, low-cost, solution to close off this route" saying there were "unrealistic and will not succeed".

The policy has been put on hold after campaigners launched a judicial review at the European Court of Human Rights which is not expected to take place until September.

But the report said an effective deterrent would involve stopping boats from leaving France in the first place, adding that establishing a "fair and efficient" asylum scheme would encourage people to arrive people in the UK through legal routes and stop them falling into the grasp of people smugglers.

Labour MP Diana Johnson, who chairs the committee, said: "It is clear that the asylum system is broken, but it is not those making Channel crossings who broke it. Policy development in this area has moved away from evidence-based, tested and cost-effective solutions reacting to the changing demands placed on it.

"Instead, we have a search for radical new policies that might make good headlines but do little to stem the flow of people prepared to put their lives at risk to reach the UK by any means necessary."

She added: "The failure to ensure safe routes are available to all those who would have a rightful asylum claim leaves people little choice but to use drastic measures to get there.

"Despite much sabre rattling that people should claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive in, the government has made slow progress in setting up deals with international partners to facilitate returns.

"Its deterrent policy of sending asylum applicants to Rwanda appears to have gone unnoticed by those who attempt to cross the Channel."

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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