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UK Prime Minister Ends Rwandan Deportation Scheme

The new UK Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer, has officially terminated the Rwandan deportation scheme, citing its high costs and inefficiency in addressing illegal immigration. This decision marks a significant shift in the UK’s approach to handling migrants.

In a decisive move on his first full day as the UK’s Prime Minister, Sir Keir Starmer announced the termination of the controversial Rwandan deportation scheme. The program, which was strongly supported by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, aimed to deport migrants who entered the UK unlawfully to Rwanda. However, Starmer has declared the scheme “dead and buried,” pointing out its high costs and lack of effectiveness in deterring illegal immigration.

The Rwandan deportation scheme, which had already cost the UK £310 million, was criticized for deporting less than 1% of small boat arrivals, failing to serve as a significant deterrent. Starmer emphasized the need for more effective measures to combat illegal immigration, indicating that his administration would introduce new strategies to address the issue.

The end of this scheme raises concerns about the future of approximately 52,000 migrants who were designated for deportation under the program. As of June 26, 2024, the BBC reported that 13,195 individuals had arrived in the UK via small boat crossings in the Channel, a figure surpassing the combined totals of the previous four years. Over the last seven years, nearly 120,000 migrants have used this method to enter the UK.

Originally introduced two years ago by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Rwandan deportation plan faced numerous legal challenges. These challenges persisted throughout Sunak’s administration and have continued to the present day.

The Prime Minister’s decision to abolish the scheme marks a significant policy shift and leaves the government searching for alternative solutions to manage illegal immigration effectively. The financial and social implications of this decision remain to be seen as the UK navigates this complex issue.

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