(HorizonPost.com) – Lawyers for the British government on Monday told the UK Supreme Court that there was a serious need to move forward with its plan to deport African migrants to Rwanda as the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seeks to overturn an appeals court ruling declaring the plan unlawful, Reuters reported.
In June, London’s Court of Appeal ruled that Prime Minister Sunak’s plan to deport tens of thousands of East African migrants to Rwanda was unlawful since the country could not be considered a safe third country.
In its decision, the appeals court said that sending the migrants to Rwanda would put them at risk of being sent to their home countries to face persecution despite having legitimate asylum claims. As such, the plan would be illegal under the UK’s Human Rights Act.
The appeals court decision was a significant setback to the prime minister’s pledge to put a stop to the thousands of migrants arriving in boats across the English Channel.
During Monday’s hearing before the Supreme Court, government lawyer James Eadie said that the government “attaches considerable importance” to the deportation policy and said there was a “serious and pressing need” to take steps that will deter others from “undertaking the perilous and sometimes life-threatening journey” across the English Channel.
Eadie argued that there is “a strong public interest” in implementing the plan.
The lawyers representing eight African asylum seekers argued in court filings that Rwanda’s system for determining refugee status has “critical defects.” They also cited the Rwandan government’s “capture of the judiciary” and its repression of political dissent.
Lawyers representing migrants from other countries, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Vietnam, are also asking the Supreme Court to rule that the deportation plan is more broadly unlawful.
Immigration was a key factor in the 2016 Brexit vote to leave the European Union and remains a significant concern today.
Recent polls in the UK found that immigration is a primary concern among voters, with the majority saying that the government is handling it poorly.
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