Boris Johnson’s Rwanda plan for illegal immigrants slammed by parties in Northern Ireland

Ulster politicians have hit out at the Government’s “Outrageous” plan to ship illegal immigrants to Rwanda.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that unauthorised migrants who seek sanctuary in the UK will be flown to Rwanda under a new set of immigration policies.

DUP MP Jim Shannon thinks the move has lowered the UK’s standing around the world.

He commented: “I do think maybe the prime minister is trying to deflect focus off him onto other issues.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the £120m pilot scheme would 'save countless lives'

“The people of United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been incredibly generous over the last period of times when it comes to helping those in need, people from Syria, people from Ukraine.

“It’s about compassion, it’s about helping people.”

He added: “This idea of a refugee, an asylum seeker who has made it the whole way from Afghanistan, the whole way from Lebanon, and then when they get to the United Kingdom we put them in a boat or a plane and ship them off to Rwanda – I think it’s outrageous.

“It’s not helpful. The United Kingdom’s image around the world it doesn’t look good after this announcement from the prime minister. I think it will come back to bite him.”

Alliance’s Stephen Farry said the Government’s plans to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda are “vile, deranged and unworkable,”

The North Down MP said: “The Government’s plans for offshoring asylum seekers to Rwanda are vile, deranged and unworkable.

“The plans would strip refugees of their basic humanity, and are a blatant breach of international law - specifically the UK’s commitments under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

“The public want the Prime Minister and Chancellor to resign, not to see retribution for the most vulnerable people in our society. This is yet another example of distraction politics from an increasingly corrupt and authoritarian Government.”

SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon has the plan is “inhumane and totally devoid of compassion”.

North Belfast Assembly candidate Ms Mallon said: “Just when you thought the current British government couldn’t sink any lower they have once again outdone themselves.

“This plan to send refugees arriving in Britain to Rwanda is cruel and inhumane and shows zero compassion to people who are fleeing some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable, including war and persecution.

“Coming on the back of the Nationality and Borders Bill and their completely inadequate response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis it seems that this government is determined to make Britain a hostile environment for people in desperate need of help.”

She added: “Their actions have already done incredible harm to their reputation on the world stage and once again while other countries open their arms to help those seeking refuge, the British government are doing everything possible to prevent it, playing to the very worst instincts of their supporters in the process.

“Just last year the British government themselves expressed concern about Rwanda’s human rights record to the United Nations. They called for investigations into alleged killings, disappearances and torture and now they are apparently happy to send vulnerable people with no connection to the country there while their future is decided.

“The British government should hang their heads in shame for even proposing this plan in the first place and I can only hope that the outcry that followed this announcement will prompt them to change their minds. The entire SDLP team, led by our MPs at Westminster, will continue to oppose these proposals at every possible opportunity and hold this government to account for their heartless attitude towards vulnerable people in need.”

Sending migrants to Rwanda will save Britain money in the “longer term”, a Conservative minister has argued, despite critics describing the costs involved as “eye-watering”.

Tom Pursglove, a minister at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, said the aim was to allow transferred migrants to embark on “fully prosperous” lives in the central African country while simultaneously crushing the “cruel” business model of human traffickers.