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28 Apr, 2024 19:40

Britain planning large-scale shock deportation raids – media

Detention centers have reportedly been prepared to hold illegal immigrants before they are flown to Rwanda
Britain planning large-scale shock deportation raids – media

The UK Home Office will launch a nationwide sweep to detain illegal immigrants ahead of their deportation to Rwanda, The Guardian reported on Sunday. The operation comes after parliament passed a bill allowing the scheme to go ahead.

Over the course of two weeks, law enforcement officers will detain migrants at immigration services meetings and bail hearings, and in surprise raids across the country, the newspaper’s sources claimed. Those apprehended will be held in specially-prepared detention centers ahead of the first flights to Rwanda later this summer, they added.

The Home Office did not confirm any details of the operation, but told the Guardian that the government’s ambitious deportation plan would inevitably “include detaining people in preparation for the first flight, which is set to take off to Rwanda in 10 to 12 weeks.”

Britain struck a five-year agreement with Rwanda in April 2022 for asylum seekers who entered the country illegally to be sent to the African nation while their claims are processed. However, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) intervened to block the first deportation flight two months later, and the UK’s Supreme Court ruled the scheme unlawful last November.

Earlier this week, parliament passed the Safety of Rwanda Act, which provides the legal framework for flights to begin.

Pro-immigration NGOs will likely file legal objections to the detentions, and activists will organize protests in some areas, they told the Guardian. Refugee Council CEO Enver Solomon said that the plan is “inhumane” and will cause “chaos and human misery” in immigrant communities. 

Britain has seen a massive influx of illegal immigrants entering the country by boat from mainland Europe in recent years. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made “stopping the boats” a key promise since taking office in 2022, but his Conservative government has thus far failed to tackle the problem. According to the latest government figures, 7,167 people arrived on so-called ‘small boats’ in the first four months of this year, an all-time high for that period and an increase of more than 1,400 since the same January to April period last year.

Since the passage of the Safety of Rwanda Act, however, illegal immigrants have already begun to leave the UK in droves, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Micheal Martin claimed this week. According to Martin, the migrants are taking advantage of the UK’s open Northern Irish border to enter the Republic of Ireland and file new asylum claims there. 

With more than 80% of recently-arrived asylum seekers now entering Ireland from Northern Ireland, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee has promised to draft “emergency legislation” next week to “effectively return people to the UK.”




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