Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, will try to move on from the uproar caused by his Covid 19 lockdown fine by announcing a plan to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Johnson is planning to speak in Kent, southeast England, where thousands of migrants landed in small boats last year on Channel beaches, as he targets illegal immigration, which is a concern for many in his party.
British Interior Minister Priti Patel has traveled to Rwanda, where she will give details of the plan to set up a holding center, which The Times newspaper reported would cost an initial $157.61 million.
A government minister said the plan was focused on single young men. Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, told Sky News that this is about male economic migrants in the main. There are different issues with women and children. More than 28,000 migrants and refugees made the crossing from mainland Europe to Britain last year. The arrival of migrants on rickety boats has resulted in tension between France and Britain, especially after 27 migrants drowned when their dinghy deflated in November.
Johnson will increase British operations and tackle people-smuggling gangs in the Channel, according to his office. He will say that the plan represents a commitment to voters who backed the campaign he led.
Johnson will say before Christmas 27 people drowned, and there may be many more deaths in the weeks ahead, and whose bodies may never be recovered, according to Johnson's office.
Around 600 came across the Channel yesterday. This could reach a thousand a day in just a few weeks. Johnson has faced a number of calls to resign after being fined by police on Tuesday for attending a gathering for his birthday in June 2020 when social mixing was all but banned under Covid 19 rules his government had introduced.
In Thursday s speech he will accept that migrants are trying to live a better life, but they say their dreams are being exploited by people-smugglers.
With a long-term plan for asylum in this country, Johnson will say, just as Brexit allowed us to take back control of legal immigration by replacing free movement with our points-based system.
The plan was floated in the face of the principle of giving asylum-seekers a fair hearing on British soil, according to the head of a refugee advocacy group.
I think it is rather extraordinary that the government is obsessing with control instead of focusing on competence and compassion, said Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, told BBC radio.
The number of Channel crossings has increased and the government is struggling to come up with solutions.
A previous idea for the British navy to turn the boats back was rejected by the military, while it has also looked at housing asylum seekers on disused oil rigs or in countries such as Moldova, Papua New Guinea and its remote overseas territories in the South Atlantic, according to newspaper reports.