Government's bid to deport migrants to Rwanda thwarted by Court of Appeal

There was a sense of inevitability about the unlawfulness of the government’s proposal to deport migrants to Rwanda as part of its bid to end illegal boat crossings to this country, through the Channel.

Yesterday’s ruling by judges sitting at the Court of Appeal agreed with that which campaigners dead-against the plan have said from the start: Rwanda cannot be deemed a safe destination to which migrants can be deported.

And that is where the sense of inevitability comes from: the intended destination for anyone caught entering this country illegally must be a place where you wouldn’t fancy going. That’s the point.

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In order to even potentially deter anyone contemplating coming to this country illegally, by boat or otherwise, the government has calculated that the possibility of finding yourself in a country that has well-documented human rights failings may - just may - put someone off making the journey.

Yet, that calculation could not be more flawed: the people on those boats know the crossing is fraught with danger and that by entering the water, their lives are at risk. Rwanda - or anywhere else for that matter - will not deter someone whose life circumstances and prospects are such that they are willing to die in a bid to escape.

The Prime Minister now faces the prospect of failing to deliver on yet another one of his flagship - arguably the flagship - policy commitments: Stop The Boats.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has already indicated that he plans to appeal the decision, no doubt encouraged by the two-judges-to-one split, with Lord Burnett, the lord chief justice, concluding that Rwanda is in fact a safe third country for asylum seekers. Protecting our borders, controlling migration and breaking the criminal gangs will not be easy, but it may come to define this Prime Minister.