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‘UK immigration policies dishonour God’: Kirk leader slams Rwanda plan as new electronic tag scheme announced

by Tola Mbakwe

It’s been revealed that some asylum seekers arriving in the UK via “unnecessary and dangerous routes" could be electronically tagged by the government.

A 12-month pilot scheme has started to prevent people crossing the Channel in small boats. Home Office guidance published this week for its staff explains reasons for the scheme.

“There has been an unprecedented growth in irregular migration through unnecessary and dangerous routes, to the point where this represents a significant challenge to the operation of effective immigration control,” it reads.

“Those arriving via such routes are a relatively unknown cohort to the Home Office and we do not know much about their individual circumstances or the routes they have taken to travel to the UK.”

It adds the pilot scheme will determine if “electronic monitoring is an effective way to improve and maintain regular contact management with asylum claimants who arrive in the UK via unnecessary and dangerous routes, in order to progress their immigration case”.

It will also use the data to test the rate of absconding and how frequently this happens.

The new scheme comes as the home secretary, Priti Patel, described a European Court of Human Rights ruling to block a deportation flight to Rwanda on Tuesday, as "absolutely scandalous".

Meanwhile. the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has accused the UK Government of “dishonouring God” by hindering people fleeing conflict from staying in the country.

Speaking ahead of Refugee Week next week, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields said the new Nationality and Borders Act makes life very difficult for people seeking the safety.

He described the government’s pursuit of hostile environment policies, including forcing asylum seekers to go to Rwanda on a one-way ticket, as an “unspeakable disgrace and a stain on our nation”.

Dr Greenshields said: “An ordinary family, enjoying life following the birth of their first child. Then came the dreadful news that a tyrant was planning on killing their son.

“That was the moment that fear caused them to flee from their country.

“They became people seeking refuge in another country – refugees through no fault of their own.

“Who were they? Mary, Joseph and their son Jesus.

“Their story is a story repeated all over the world as we seek to build a culture of welcome that embraces the values of human dignity and worth of all people.

“As people flee oppression, violence, conflict and war, many unfortunately do not find the welcome or safe place they need.

“In the UK, the new Nationality and Borders Act 2022 threatens the very principle of refugee protection and offers protection on the grounds of how people arrive in the UK, rather than the war, terror and persecution a person may be fleeing from.

“The trajectory to create a web of hostile policies to make life as difficult as possible for those seeking protection continues.

“This is an unspeakable disgrace and stain on our nation.

“Our UK Government is putting up barriers to prevent people finding the peace and safety they need, and robs them of the opportunity to contribute their skills and experience to the communities they live in and to rebuild their lives.

“People now face the prospect of transportation to Rwanda.

“Next week is Refugee Week and I wanted to offer a prayer for refugees around the world, but find myself, in the name of the One who Himself was a refugee, calling on the UK Government for a change of heart and direction.

“They may feel their policy to be just and right but they dishonour God by their inaction, lack of compassion and disgraceful attempted solution to this critical situation.”

On Saturday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said  he was confident of the legality of his government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda after the first flight was blocked.

"Every single court in this country said there was no obstacle that they could see, no court in this country ruled the policy unlawful which was very, very encouraging," Johnson told reporters. "We are very confident in the legality, the lawfulness of what we are doing and we are going to pursue the policy."

The European court's late intervention had led some in the Conservative Party to call for Britain to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights altogether.

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