Writing in this week’s Redditch Standard (April 29th), Rachel said:
“There has been a lot of commentary over the past few weeks following the announcement the UK will be processing asylum claims in Rwanda.
“I have received a number of emails as a result, for and against, but for the vast majority of constituents who haven’t contacted me, I want to set out why I believe this is absolutely the right policy.
“Governments of all colours have vowed to tackle illegal migration and to break the business model of the criminal smuggling gangs endangering lives by putting people on unseaworthy boats across the English Channel. Previous governments have failed, but the one I serve in is determined to take the necessary, and yes, controversial action to deter illegal entry into the UK.
“Our deal with Rwanda is a world-first. The Migration and Economic Development Partnership will see migrants who make dangerous or illegal journeys, such as by small boat or hidden in lorries, have their asylum claim processed in Rwanda. Those whose claims are accepted will then be supported to build a new and prosperous life in one of the fastest-growing economies, recognised globally for its record on welcoming and integrating migrants.
“In recent weeks my political opponents have sought to scaremonger, and of course Labour oppose this policy without presenting an alternative proposal.
“They fail to recognise our new policy has similarities with the deal between the EU and Turkey, and the Biden administration policy known as ‘Remain in Mexico’. They also fail to acknowledge Denmark wants to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
“They also fail to recognise that the most compassionate thing we can do is to deter people from wanting to cross the Channel in the first place. Too many people have already died making these perilous crossings. If this new policy brings an end to these deadly crossings then I know I have done the right thing in supporting this world-first policy.
“This is all part of our New Plan for Immigration that I have supported which will deliver the first comprehensive overhaul of the asylum system in decades. At the heart of this approach is fairness. Access to the UK’s asylum system must be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers.
“We will also improve support for those directly fleeing oppression, persecution and tyranny through safe and legal routes, deter illegal entry, and make it easier to remove those with no right to be in the UK.
“Wanting to control our borders, tackle illegal migration and crackdown on criminal gangs is not backwards looking – it is something my constituents have consistently voted for, and I am delivering on what I believe the vast majority of my constituents want.”