Priti Patel said her plan to send migrants to Rwanda sent a ‘clear signal’ that those arriving illegally have no right to stay – but admitted it ‘will take time’ to implement.
The plan has been described as “cruel and wicked” by charities and “contrary to God’s nature” by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But the the prime minister argued that it will deter people from making perilous Channel crossings in small boats and that it is “morally the right thing to do”.
The first group of asylum seekers who could receive a one-way ticket to the African country should be notified this week – those who successfully apply for asylum to obtain refugee status in the country.
The first flights should take place in the coming months.
Boris Johnson has slammed ‘liberal lawyers’ who he says are trying to stop the plans.
Ms Patel, speaking during a visit to the Met Police specialist training facility in Gravesend, Kent, said: ‘I said from day one, even when I signed the agreement and announced the partnership, that it will take time and it will take time for various reasons.
“We see various obstacles and barriers, mainly from specialized law firms who want to block the removal of individuals who have no right to be in our country.
“It’s part of the techniques they use.”
But the Home Secretary added that the government was determined “to deport people who have no legal right to be in our country”.
“And on the issue of small boats, that’s exactly why we changed our laws, that’s why we have this partnership with Rwanda, because it sends a clear signal that those who come into our country illegally , they will not be allowed to stay in our country,” Ms Patel said.
“We will use all the tools and all the legislative measures we have to make sure we can remove them.”
“No ceiling” on the number of people sent to Rwanda
Boris Johnson has said that initially tens of thousands of people could be flown to Rwanda under the deal.
But The Times reported that modeling by Home Office officials indicated only 300 a year could be sent there.
The ministry later said it did not recognize the figure and that there was no limit to the number of people who could be sent to Rwanda.
At least 7,739 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel this year so far, according to a PA analysis of government figures, up from 2,439 in the same period a year ago.
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