More than 20,000 migrants have undertaken the perilous 20-mile trek from France to Britain on small boats this year, traversing one of the world’s busiest shipping channels.
In early September, a combination of human rights organizations and a labor union will argue in London’s High Court that Rwanda’s policy is impracticable and unethical.
Governments around the world are debating how to handle an inflow of migrants fleeing war-torn countries or persecution in their home countries. Britain is the latest government to attempt to outsource the settling of asylum seekers.
Australia pioneered the notion, and in recent years, European governments have paid nations such as Libya to block migrants on their behalf. Denmark struck a similar deportation pact with Rwanda, but has yet to send any migrants there.
Britain has characterized its strategy as compassionate, claiming that it will destroy the business model of people smugglers and end the emergency, which has resulted in at least 166 deaths or disappearances, with 27 drowning in the deadliest catastrophe in November.
However, it has sparked widespread condemnation, including from lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum, the United Nations, and even the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, while the European Court of Human Rights issued injunctions to force the cancellation of the first deportation flight hours before it was scheduled to depart in June.
The magnitude of the challenge likewise dwarfs the policy.
Rwanda has also only established one hostel to receive UK visitors, with a capacity of approximately 100 persons, representing 0.35% of all migrants who landed in the UK last year.
According to a British official, the government is in talks to acquire three or four more hostels in Kigali, but even those would only accommodate only 1.6% of last year’s arrivals.
“I’m not going to pretend that the Rwanda policy is the single magic bullet, but I think it can make a big difference,” outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a visit to Rwanda for a conference of Commonwealth leaders in June.