Britain's 'Rwanda Plan' Shows How Unserious The West Is About Illegal Immigration

AP Photo/Kin Cheung, Pool

The flights of illegal immigrants were supposed to begin in 2022. 

The United Kingdom, under the Tories, signed an agreement with the government of Rwanda to accept 'refugees' who crossed into their country illegally, and immediately the program was suspended due to political and legal challenges. 

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$150 million had already been given to the African country and hotels contracted to house the migrants, but only two volunteered after a £3000 bribe. The hotels stand empty. 

Flights of deported migrants are now scheduled to begin on July 24th--but only if the Tories win the upcoming election. Labour has promised to scrap the plan. 

To be fair, the Tories had a lot of obstacles to overcome. The House of Lords was opposed, and the courts and international community went crazy about the plan. So delays were to be expected. 

After the Supreme Court ruled that the scheme was unlawful, the government introduced a bill to make clear in UK law that Rwanda is a safe country.

The legislation - which was finally approved after intense political wrangling - orders the courts to ignore key sections of the Human Rights Act.

It also compels the courts to disregard other British laws or international rules - such as the international Refugee Convention - which would block deportations to Rwanda.

The UK government also signed a new migration treaty with Rwanda, which Home Secretary James Cleverly said guarantees that anyone sent there would not risk being returned to their home country.

The Rwanda Bill was fiercely criticised by opposition parties and by many charities representing asylum seekers.

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But those challenges demonstrate how unserious Western countries are about defending the integrity of their borders and cultures. The decks are stacked--migrants first. Legal challenges don't take into account that every migrant who crossed into the country illegally is there...illegally. It's as if illegal immigration is one big game of "Tag," where crossing the border is like touching home base and the game is over. 

Two years ago, the British government decided to spend big to outsource a migration problem.

To deter migrants seeking asylum from illegally entering the country, it announced a radical plan: Those smuggled on makeshift dinghies to British shores would be sent to Rwanda, a small country in central Africa, where they would remain. The U.K. government handed Rwanda a £120 million (about $150 million) down payment and told it to get ready to host thousands of potential refugees. 

Shortly after, Hope Hostel, a neatly kept yellow-fronted hotel in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, was rented out with British taxpayer funds to accommodate the expected planeloads of asylum seekers. Hotel manager Ismael Bakina and his team of 40 have been keeping busy ever since, changing the sheets on 100 double beds weekly, trimming decorative pot shapes into the bushes that adorn the hotel’s entrance and mowing the lawn on its mini-soccer pitch. 

But on a recent day the beds at Hope Hostel were untouched. The suggestion box at the reception desk sat empty. No one has yet come to stay. “We are still waiting,” Bakina said, standing near a sign that reads: “Come as a guest, leave as a friend.”  

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As in the United States and most of Europe, government spending has become a measure of problem-solving, whether the problems are solved or not. It's like saying San Francisco is solving its homeless crisis because it spends tens of thousands of dollars on each homeless person. 

The excrement is still on the streets, the homeless are still pitching tents and doing fentanyl on the sidewalks, and zombies roam the city. But at least they are spending billions to "solve the problem."

Faced with yet more legal hurdles, the British government began rounding up migrants in April to be sent to Rwanda. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called an election for July, and promises to get flights off if he is elected. The opposition Labour Party, who are favorites to win, say they will immediately scrap the policy. 

“I am not going to flog a dead horse,” Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer said in a speech recently. “I am not interested in a gimmick.”

Other countries are interested. Advisers to U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump are studying the Rwanda plan. Italy’s leader Giorgia Meloni organized a letter by 15 European countries asking the European Commission to explore new powers to process asylum applications outside EU territory. The election manifesto of the main center-right party in European parliamentary elections, the European People’s Party, calls on sending asylum seekers to “safe third countries.” 

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So far, it is all talk, and in this case, the talk isn't even cheap. The money flows, people are getting rich, and ordinary Westerners are losing. 

San Franciscans may not be serious about cleaning up their city, but most people in Western countries have made clear that they want their governments to get down to business and clear out the illegal immigrants. Not just stop the flow but actually reverse it. 

I am skeptical that it will happen, even if Donald Trump wins the election here in the United States. As in Britain, legal challenges will spring up, Democrats will stand in the way, and Americans will continue to lose the war against the erosion of our culture and our economic well-being. 

Perhaps I am wrong on this--I sincerely hope I am. If so it will be because the backlash has gotten so strong that Trump can overcome the challenges. Reagan was able to do that with tax cuts in 1981--Democrats were scared by the loss in 1980. 

But the Democrat Party of 1981 was a far different beast than that of 2024, and the system is stacked against you and me. 

The problem is simple: our elites' interests are fundamentally misaligned with those of ordinary people--and the elites run the system. 

Labour is almost certain to win the election in the UK--at least that is what the polls are saying--which will likely strengthen Reform UK in the coming years. But unless Reform can cobble together a majority for the 2029 elections the problem will get worse. 

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That seems to be the goal of the powers that be. 

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John Stossel 5:30 PM | July 13, 2024
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