One day after the challenge launched to the EU by the Irish Protocol, the Government of Boris Johnson has caused a new international stir by the first flight with immigrants deported to Rwanda that is scheduled to leave on Tuesday. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has defended the controversial move as “completely moral”, despite the fact that Prince Charles himself described it as “appalling” and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called it “contrary to the nature of God”.

In full countdown to the departure of the first flight, a total of 24 bishops and archbishops have published a joint letter in The Times alleging that the deportations of the Johnson Government “should shame us as a nation.” The Anglican bishops claim the “Christian heritage” of the country and stress the moral obligation to “treat asylum seekers with compassion and justice.”

“I don’t agree with that,” Liz Truss told Sky News. “The people who are immoral are the traffickers who deal in human misery. Those who criticize the plan should come up with an alternative that works. Our policy is completely legal and moral.”

“What we want is to establish a principle and break the business model of the traffickers,” said Truss, who publicly defended the plan drawn up by the controversial Home Secretary Priti Patel (daughter of Indian immigrants living in Uganda).

The first flight to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, more than 6,000 kilometers away, will cost more than 600,000 euros to the public treasury and can carry less than ten crew members on board, compared to the more than 30 initially planned. Most of them are Kurdish men of Iranian and Iraqi origin, without family, who arrived on British shores by crossing the English Channel.

Legal resources have managed to stop individual cases, although the attempt to prevent the plane from leaving -in an action coordinated by several immigrant defense associations- crashed against the final decision of the Court of Appeals on Monday.

Despite acknowledging that there will be few crew members on the first flight, Truss predicted that “a significant number of immigrants” who entered the United Kingdom illegally will have been deported by the end of the year. However, the flow of immigrants crossing the English Channel continues to increase since the controversial announcement of the “Rwanda plan”.

Last Monday, 138 people arrived on British shores in inflatable boats. More than 10,000 migrants – mostly men of Iranian or Iraqi Kurdish origin – have arrived on British shores over the years. The figure is already double that of last year, when the record of 28,000 immigrants was reached at the end of the year. The British government plans to step up its efforts with a social media propaganda campaign warning those who dare to cross the Channel that their final destination will be Rwanda.

Boris Johnson himself determinedly defended the deportations before his council of ministers, despite acknowledging that he had received “unexpected” criticism (implicitly mentioning Prince Charles and the bishops). “We need to make a clear distinction between those who come to the UK by legal means and those who come in a dangerous and illegal way through the Channel, which is what we want to avoid,” Johnson said.

The British Government has sealed an agreement with Rwanda for the implementation of the pilot plan that will last five years. The Kigali Government is committed to providing accommodation and support for the duration of asylum applications and to guaranteeing access to education and the labor market for five years if the application is approved. If denied, they face a second deportation, possibly to their home country.

The plan has also received numerous criticisms on the economic flank. The British government will initially contribute around 140 million euros to the Rwandan government, but some estimates put the annual cost per immigrant at over 15,000 euros per year. “It would be cheaper to put them up at the Ritz in London,” said Labor MP Chris Bryant.

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