Editorial: Getting flights started to Rwanda will display that the elected government is in charge of border policy

News Letter editorial on Monday April 1 2024:
Morning ViewMorning View
Morning View

It is important that flights get out to Rwanda as part of the government’s immigration policy.

​This needs to happen before the Conservatives leave office. Dare the Labour Party to oppose it and make it a central feature of the election campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The merits of the complicated Rwanda policy to costs are almost beside the point. It is now a matter of crucial symbolism. Who controls our borders? Can we as a country do so?

Who controls our immigration policy? Is it the courts? Is it civil servants? Is the rights of foreigners, regardless of their conduct, even if criminal, as protected by international law?

We report today that the government’s belief that it was on top of the illegal Channel crossings is a mirage. Before 349 people were detected crossing the dangerous waterway in seven boats on Saturday, 2024 had already see a record high in the number of people making the journey in the first three months of a year. The previous record high figure for January to March was 4,548 in 2022, with 3,793 arrivals in the first quarter of last year.

As anyone with even a cursory understanding of immigration knows, the Channel crossings are a small part of the problem. There is a much deeper issue with immigration and with the need for overseas labour because we are not as a nation prepared to insist that the existing population works if it is healthy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But even so, the Channel crossings are symbolic of the loss of control. They send out a message worldwide that despite being an island, we are easy to get to.

Immigration is out of control in other countries too, including America, so we are not alone. But a key plank of stopping the boats is to send small boat arrivals to Rwanda, and the elected government has been thwarted in this. The thwarting must be overturned, and seen by the courts and officials to have been overturned.