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Tipsheet

Boris Johnson Announces the UK Will Send Illegal Migrants to Rwanda

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the British government will begin sending migrants who illegally enter to Rwanda in an effort to stop illegal immigration. 

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According to The New York Times, the new policy will apply to anyone who entered the UK illegally since Jan. 1. 

The Times noted that Johnson stated during remarks on Thursday that the move was made possible by Brexit. 

“In a speech on Thursday, Mr. Johnson said his plan could resettle thousands of migrants who cross the English Channel after long journeys from countries like Albania, Iraq and Sudan, and would apply to those who had arrived since January. He said that Britain ‘cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not.’

In Rwanda, those who arrived in so-called emergency transit centers would be given the option of seeking resettlement to countries other than Britain, returning home or to a previous country of asylum, or staying in Rwanda. Britain will pay Rwanda 120 million pounds, about $157 million, to finance opportunities including education, vocational and skills training and language lessons.”

Johnson added in his speech that the policy will likely face legal challenges. The Times mentioned that several human rights groups immediately denounced the policy, claiming that it is inhumane and “violates international agreements” and will encourage other countries to send migrants to other countries.

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“We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here. Uncontrolled immigration creates unmanageable demands on our NHS and our welfare state, it overstretches our local schools, our housing and public transport, and creates unsustainable pressure to build on precious green spaces. Nor is it fair on those who are seeking to come here legally, if others can just bypass the system,” Johnson said in his remarks

It’s a striking fact that around 7 out of 10 of those arriving in small boats last year were men under 40, paying people smugglers to queue-jump and taking up our capacity to help genuine women and child refugees,” the prime minister added.

“This is particularly perverse as those attempting crossings are not directly fleeing imminent peril as is the intended purpose of our asylum system,” he said. “They have passed through manifestly safe countries, including many in Europe, where they could – and should – have claimed asylum.”

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