Cleverly’s vision for UK’s plan to deport migrants to Rwanda

By Esther Muhozi
On 14 November 2023 at 01:34

On Monday, the United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak made a Cabinet reshuffle, appointing James Cleverly as the new Home Secretary replacing Suella Braverman.

The focus now turns sharply to Cleverly as he undergoes scrutiny for his Ministry’s response to the imminent Supreme Court evaluation of the plan to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda on Wednesday, November 15.

This deportation initiative finds its roots in the Migration and Economic Development Partnership between Rwanda and the UK, strategically crafted to address the persistent challenge of illegal migration.

The Supreme Court asserts the legal soundness of deportation to Rwanda, placing Cleverly at the helm to ensure compliance, from preparedness for the process to managing potential protests. If the court were to disagree, Cleverly would wield a pivotal role in formulating the subsequent steps in implementing the agreement.

Cleverly’s inaugural press statement resounded with support for Rishi Sunak’s strategy to combat illegal immigration, with a particular emphasis on addressing small boat crossings, underscoring his commitment to fulfilling promises made to the public.

Six months ago, upon assuming power, Sunak pledged to prevent illegal migrants from entering the UK, as outlined in the agreement with Rwanda. The responsibility for executing this decision now rests squarely on Cleverly’s shoulders as Braverman’s successor in the Home Office.

While Braverman supported the plan to send migrants to Rwanda, his perceived arrogance and suggestion of withdrawing from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) contributed to his unpopularity. This move contradicted Sunak’s vision, aiming to maintain ties with the ECHR and distinguish the UK from Belarus and Russia, as reported by the Independent newspaper.

In his role as the new Minister of Interior, Cleverly aligns with Sunak’s perspective on remaining within the European Court. Despite the court’s prior abandonment of the Rwanda deportation plan, Cleverly remains confident in the UK’s ability to influence the court judges to align decisions with the country’s interests.

Drawing from his experience as Minister of Foreign Affairs before his current role, Cleverly highlighted his extensive efforts in addressing the immigration issue during his tenure. His recent visit to Albania, one of the countries with illegal immigrants to the UK, aimed to assess collaboration efforts in curbing immigration.

Additionally, Cleverly is committed to extending agreements with other countries for migrant relocation, following the Rwanda model. Ongoing discussions with Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt are in progress, while talks with India and Georgia have been announced, building upon initiatives outlined by Braverman before her departure.

Cleverly's inaugural press statement resounded with support for Rishi Sunak's strategy to combat illegal immigration.