The United Kingdom’s government is set to present its case to the Supreme Court next week, aiming to reverse a decision that deemed the controversial plan to deport asylum-seeking migrants arriving via small boats to Rwanda as unlawful.
The Court of Appeal in London had earlier ruled in June that transferring migrants 4,000 miles to East Africa was illegal, noting that Rwanda shouldn’t be regarded as a safe third country.
The government’s representatives will challenge this ruling at the Supreme Court, contending its validity, beginning on Monday and is expected to end on Wednesday.
Conversely, legal representatives of migrants from countries including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, and Sudan hope that the court will recognize inherent flaws in the scheme.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has identified immigration as one of his main priorities, faces significant pressure.
Successfully resolving this matter could potentially bolster the Conservative Party’s flagging popularity, currently trailing by around 20 points in polls with an impending election next year.
Supporters, including Sunak, believe the Rwanda initiative could undermine human traffickers’ operations and discourage dangerous Channel crossings.
In contrast, critics label it as inefficient, costly, and morally wrong. Several human rights groups, lawmakers, and religious figures, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, have voiced opposition. King Charles has also been reported to hold private concerns about the plan.
The final decision now rests with a panel of five judges, who will initiate a three-day hearing primarily focused on the technical legalities.
The UK has been grappling with immigration challenges similar to many European countries, especially with migrants escaping conflict zones.
During her address to the Conservative Party members on Tuesday, Interior Minister Suella Braverman remarked that Britain faced a “hurricane” of migrants and expressed her commitment to halting what she termed “bogus asylum seekers.”
The UK’s decision to depart from the European Union in 2016 was largely influenced by immigration issues, anchored in the aspiration for Britain to regain control over its borders.
However, despite promises to regulate border entries, Britain witnessed a record migration of 606,000 last year, with 45,755 detected in 2022 arriving in small boats. The nation’s strained asylum system currently costs over £3 billion annually.
Recent legislation mandates the interior minister to send migrants arriving without authorization back to their native lands or a designated safe third country. To date, only Rwanda has signed such an agreement with Britain.
However, other cost-saving strategies, such as housing migrants on military bases or barges, have encountered significant opposition.
Recent polls highlight immigration as a primary voter concern, but there’s also apparent support for migrants to address labor shortages. Nevertheless, a considerable majority believe the government’s approach to the issue is lacking.