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UK Home Secy Priti Patel Defends Rwanda Plan for 'Illegal' Migrants: What Is It?

People arriving in the UK "illegally" will be taken to Rwanda. The latter has been paid £120 million for the deal.

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In an article for The Times, United Kingdom (UK) Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended her new plan to send illegal asylum seekers to the East African nation of Rwanda.

Jointly writing with the Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta, Patel argued that her plan would tackle the "deadly trade" of people-smuggling, and that no "humanitarian nation" could allow the suffering of migrants to continue with respect to illegal trafficking.

Under the UK-Rwanda deal, people who arrive in the UK "illegally" will be taken straight to Rwanda, where they will be assessed for resettlement.

In return, the UK has paid the Rwandan government £120 million to house the migrants and integrate them into Rwandan society.

The initial segment of the scheme is supposed to last for five years.

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When asked about the plan, Patel said that the migrants "will be given the support including up to five years of training, integration, accommodation, health care, so that they can resettle and thrive," reported the BBC.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also thrown his full support behind the plan.

"We must first ensure . . . that those who tried to jump the queue or abuse our system will find no automatic path to settlement in our country but rather be swiftly and humanely removed to a safe third country or their country of origin," the prime minister said, reported by Reuters.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said that there were "serious ethical questions" about the deal, while Leader of the Opposition Kier Starmer called the scheme "unworkable."

The Liberal Democrats too criticised the plan, and claimed that the Johnson administration was "slamming the door" in the face of refugees.

Patel could also face resistance within the Home Office after she issued a rare ministerial direction to overrule the concerns of civil servants about the plan.

It is only the second time in three decades that such a ministerial direction in the Home Office has been issued.

Additionally, the United Nations (UN)'s refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has said that the plan violates international law and any attempts by the UK government to "shift responsibility" for claims of refugee status was "unacceptable."

(With inputs from The Times, BBC, Reuters, and The Guardian.)

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Topics:  Priti Patel   Indian Diaspora 

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