First Channel migrants have been told by Priti Patel that they are being sent to Rwanda
The first migrants have been told they face being sent 4,000 miles to Rwanda to claim asylum, Priti Patel revealed last night.
The Home Secretary confirmed the first batch of illegal migrants had been handed official confirmation that they would be the guinea pigs for the controversial scheme.
Officials refused to say how many people were in the group but they are thought to have arrived by dinghy from northern France.
Home Office guidance, which has just emerged, shows migrants who arrive in Britain from Monday will be a ‘priority’ for the scheme.
Priti Patel says the first batch of illegal migrants had been handed official confirmation that they will be sent to Rwanda. They are thought to have arrived by dinghy from northern France. Pictured: One of the many groups of migrants who have headed across Channel to UK
The Ministry of Defence – which took command of Channel operations last month – confirmed there were 51 arrivals on Monday. None landed yesterday because of poor sea conditions.
Miss Patel said: ‘The first group of illegal migrants with no right to be in the UK have been informed of our intention to relocate them to Rwanda under the new Migration and Economic Development Partnership.’ It comes after 56 migrants were rescued from the Channel and taken back to France on Monday after their motorboat broke down. The group included seven children.
Miss Patel unveiled the radical asylum policy last month. An initial £120million from the British taxpayer will be paid to the Rwandan government for accommodation, processing and support costs. Boris Johnson pledged ‘tens of thousands’ of migrants would be sent to Rwanda but it has since emerged that numbers could be far lower amid an avalanche of legal challenges.
Migrants selected for the scheme receive a ‘notice of intent’ letter informing them they are ‘under consideration for relocation’.
Earlier this week, the Daily Mail revealed how shameless people smugglers are mocking the Rwanda plan as they continue to peddle perilous cross-Channel dinghy trips on TikTok.
Legal challenges against the Rwanda deal have already begun. Trade union PCS, which represents Border Force staff, has joined forces with migrants charities to claim the plan is ‘unlawful’.
Detention Action, which campaigns for foreign nationals facing deportation, said: ‘Priti Patel shut down the few available safe routes for refugees and now she plans to trade them with a foreign government that her own department admits is violently persecuting people. Her Rwanda plan will put even more lives at risk.’
It comes as 15 dangerous foreign criminals – including a convicted murderer – were deported to Lithuania yesterday.
Miss Patel announced the offenders were removed on a charter flight in conjunction with the Lithuanian government.