British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Thursday outline his government’s plan to tackle illegal migration and small boat crossings of the Channel, which is expected to include an immigration deal with Rwanda.
Johnson, whose future has been thrown into doubt after he received a fine for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules, was elected partly on promises to curb illegal immigration, but his term has so far been marked by record numbers 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 makes the case for stronger enforcement of the laws, according to his Downing Street office.
“Before Christmas, 27 people drowned and in the weeks ahead there may be many more losing their lives at sea,” he was to say, adding illegal immigration had “bedevilled our country for too long2 and caused far too much human suffering and tragedy.
“I accept that these people… are in search of a better life; the opportunities that the United Kingdom provides and the hope of a fresh start,” Johnson is expected to add.
“But it is these hopes — these dreams — that have been exploited. These vile people smugglers are abusing the vulnerable and turning the Channel into a watery graveyard.
“We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not.”
The plan aims to “break the business model of people smuggling gangs, step-up our operations in the Channel, bring more criminals to justice and end this barbaric trade in human misery,” said his office, without adding any detail.
Interior minister Priti Patel will speak after the prime minister to set out details of a migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda.
It has been reported previously that the UK hopes to outsource the processing of migrants to countries such as Ghana and Rwanda.