British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will present his government’s plan on Thursday to tackle illegal migration and small boat crossings of the English Channel, which is expected to include an immigration deal with Rwanda.
Johnson, whose future has been thrown into doubt after being fined for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules, was elected in part on promises to curb illegal immigration, but his term has so far been marked by a record number of Channel crossings.
He is expected to highlight the danger of such crossings, often made in unseaworthy craft, and the role of smuggling gangs as he pleads for tougher law enforcement, according to his Downing Street office.
“Before Christmas, 27 people drowned and in the coming weeks there could be many more who will lose their lives at sea”, he was to say, adding that illegal immigration had “bothered our country for too long2 and caused far too much human suffering and tragedy”.
“I accept that these people (…) are looking for a better life; the opportunities that the UK offers and the hope of a new beginning,” Johnson should add.
“But it is those hopes – those dreams – that have been exploited. These dastardly smugglers abuse the vulnerable and turn the English Channel into a watery graveyard.
“We cannot maintain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our ability to help people is not.”
The plan aims to “break the business model of smuggling gangs, scale up our operations in the Channel, bring more criminals to justice and end this barbaric trade in human misery,” his office said, without adding any details.
Home Secretary Priti Patel will speak after the Prime Minister to outline details of a migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda.
It has previously been reported that the UK hopes to outsource migrant processing to countries such as Ghana and Rwanda.
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