Half of asylum seekers facing removal from UK to Rwanda are married
Priti Patel's assertions that persons crossing the Channel are "not genuine" asylum seekers are refuted by a survey.
Nearly half of asylum seekers facing deportation to Rwanda are married, with one fifth having children, according to a new survey.
The findings were released on Wednesday by the campaign coalition Together With Refugees, a coalition of over 500 national and local refugee organizations, while the analysis was carried out by the charity Care4Calais.
The survey found that the majority of asylum seekers facing deportation to Rwanda come from countries where more than 80% of people have had their refugee status recognized by the UK.
The new study refutes claims made by former home secretary Priti Patel, who introduced the program to stop people from attempting to cross the English Channel in small boats, claiming that they were "not genuine asylum seekers" and "elbowing out the women and children, who are at risk and fleeing persecution."
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In a pool of 213 people, 72% of those who were threatened with being deported to Rwanda by the Home Office came from Western-torn Arab countries. At least 82% of applicants from these nations are accepted in the UK.
Between August 2022 and January 17, 2023, the Home Office sent notices of intent to every participant in the survey. Anyone who gets such a notification could end up being transported to Rwanda.
When she was home secretary, Patel said: “In the last 12 months alone, 70% of the individuals who have come to our country illegally via small boats are single men, who are effectively economic migrants. They are not genuine asylum seekers … These are the ones who are elbowing out the women and children, who are at risk and fleeing persecution.”
But among those in the new analysis, 13 are female. 20% of the sample as a whole are parents, and 42% are either married or engaged. Two-thirds have claimed to have experienced torture or modern-day slavery.
When the scheme was first piloted, the Home Office said it would be aimed at single men.
Is Rwanda the solution?
A recent YouGov poll indicated that only 10% of those questioned agreed that sending individuals to Rwanda was the best method to address the issue of small boat arrivals. Despite the high court agreeing that this ruling can be appealed, it did rule the plan legal in December of last year.
On a red open-top London bus, protesters will go to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the plan. Banners aboard the bus urge the authorities to "scrap the cruel Rwanda plan."
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Spokesperson for Together With Refugees and chief executive of Safe Passage, Beth Gardiner-Smith, said: “This scheme is not just morally wrong; it’s expensive and unworkable. If our government were serious about tackling smuggling and saving lives at sea, they would scrap this plan and urgently expand safe routes for refugees.”
Moreover, Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said “This brutal policy will not end small boat crossings, it won’t stop people smugglers and it won’t keep refugees safe. There is a kinder and more effective option: give safe passage to refugees in Calais.”
A Home Office spokesperson said that everyone in scope for relocation to Rwanda will be "individually assessed," without relocating any of them to a proper place.
“If an individual’s circumstances change after receipt of a notice of intent, this should be communicated to us at the earliest opportunity and their case will be reviewed.”