in defending deportations to Rwanda, “Boris Johnson speaks directly to the electorate who have been voting Conservative since Brexit”

The United Kingdom’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda has been blocked by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but the government of Boris Johnson continues, Wednesday June 15, to display its determination.

The British executive presents this agreement with the West African country as a means of discouraging illegal crossings of the Channel, which are constantly increasing despite Boris Johnson’s repeated promises, since Brexit, to control the ‘immigration. Despite criticism from the UN and the Anglican Church, British Home Secretary Priti Pradel said on Wednesday that London would not be “discouraged by inevitable last-minute appeals”, claiming that “preparations for the next flights had already begun”.

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For Thibaud Harrois, lecturer in contemporary British civilization at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle University, the implementation of this agreement is the culmination of several years of hardening of the Conservatives’ policy on immigration. According to him, “with each domestic difficulty for the conservative party, the government plays on anti-European and anti-immigration discourse” loved by Brexit supporters.

Does the firmness displayed and claimed by Boris Johnson’s government in terms of migration policy have their roots in the Brexit campaign and its promises?

Proponents of leaving the European Union have indeed campaigned on the idea of “take back control”, especially borders. Since Brexit, the British government has tightened its migration policy by introducing, for example, a point-based visa system and by clearly asserting its desire to curb immigration.

Immigration is very present in British public debate. We often see scandals breaking out which make the “one” of the newspapers about the small boats, these boats on which migrants cross the Channel to reach the United Kingdom. This subject is fundamental for some of the conservatives and the government of Boris Johnson did not hesitate to highlight it.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Immigration: UK wants to criminalize Channel crossings

Brexit is, however, itself a symptom of a change in approach to the migration issue in the United Kingdom that predates it. The British Prime Minister today defends his agreement with Rwanda by saying that these expulsions will “dissuade” migrants to cross the English Channel. Already when Theresa May was David Cameron’s Home Secretary [2010-2016]the government had instituted a hostile environment policy whose stated objective was to ” to discourage “ immigration. The discourse of the conservatives has not ceased to harden ever since.

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