London, Apr 14 (EFE).- Asylum seekers who enter the United Kingdom irregularly via the English Channel will be sent to Rwanda under a new relocation plan, British prime minister, Boris Johnson, said on Thursday.
“Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,” Boris said in a speech in Kent in which he outlined the government’s new immigration plans, yet to be approved, that could send tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Boris said that the majority of migrants arriving in small boats through the Channel were entering the UK via irregular routes.
“It’s a striking fact that around seven out of ten of those arriving in small boats last year were men under 40, paying people smugglers to queue jump and taking up our capacity to help genuine women and child refugees,” he said.
“We must ensure that the only route to asylum in the UK is a safe and legal one.”
Around 600 people made the crossing on Wednesday, Boris said, warning that the figure could reach up to 1,000 a day in just a few weeks.
“Those who try to jump the queue or abuse our systems will find no automatic path to set them up in our country, but rather be swiftly and humanely removed to a safe third country or their country of origin.
“So from today, our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership will mean that anyone entering the UK illegally – as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1st – may now be relocated to Rwanda,” Boris said.
He added that Rwanda was “one of the safest countries in the world, globally recognised for its record on welcoming and integrating migrants.”
The immigration plan has been heavily criticized by the opposition and humanitarian groups, who have called the plan cruel, raising concerns about Rwanda’s human rights record.
“Sending people to another country – let alone one with such a dismal human rights record – for asylum ‘processing’ is the height of irresponsibility,” programme director at Amnesty International UK, Steve Valdez-Symonds, said. EFE