Channel migrants who arrived in the UK last week have already been handed letters warning them they could be sent to Rwanda as Home Office pushes ahead with controversial policy
- One of the migrants who avoided Rwanda last week is an Albanian in his mid-20s
- HIs mother said: ‘He told me he will kill himself if he is sent to live in Africa’
- Ten Albanians have been sent letters warning they could be sent to Rwanda
- Home Secretary Priti Patel called the ECHR’s ruling ‘scandalous’ and ‘opaque’
Migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats last week have already received letters warning they could be sent to Rwanda.
In a sign of the Government’s determination to press ahead with the controversial policy, officials have sent out a wave of fresh notifications, including to a group of ten Albanians.
The Mail on Sunday understands that one of the seven migrants in the final group to avoid being flown to Rwanda last week is an Albanian farmhand in his mid-20s who arrived in Dover last month after crossing the Channel in a small boat.
Speaking from the family’s two-bedroom home in a remote village, his mother, who is in her 50s, said: ‘May God help my son.
‘He told me he will kill himself if he is sent to live in Africa by the British. I am begging your Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to send him to Rwanda. I will never see him again.’
She recalled kissing her son goodbye just before Christmas as he set out for Britain hoping to work on building sites. ‘He wanted to go to England, but he wanted to stay here with me. His mind was divided,’ she said.
The Mail on Sunday understands that one of the seven migrants in the final group to avoid being flown to Rwanda last week arrived in Dover last month after crossing the Channel in a small boat
‘Now I am now alone with the two cows, which make my only income. When he got to the UK, he did not tell me he had been locked up.
‘Then a few weeks ago, he phoned, sounding frightened, to say the British were sending him to Rwanda.’ Clutching a photograph of her son, she added: ‘He told me if they were going make him live in Africa he would hang himself in the removal centre.
‘His words to me were, “I am not going there”.’ The farmhand, like hundreds of young Albanian men who head for Britain, told the UK authorities that traffickers arranged his entire journey, first from his village in northern Albania to northern France, and then – after spending seven months in a migrant camp – on a boat across the Channel to Britain.
Albanian police say he has no criminal record.
Asked how her impoverished son could afford his journey, the mother said: ‘Maybe the traffickers sent him to England to work for them, make themselves money from him, and to pay back his fares.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling as ‘scandalous’ and ‘opaque’
According to sources, her son had arrived in a van on the tarmac of the Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down airfield on Tuesday evening when news of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg arrived and the flight was abandoned. This weekend, he remains in a detention centre as Home Office officials continue to plan further flights, and also await the outcome of a judicial review of the Rwanda policy in the High Court next month.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the ECHR’s ruling as ‘scandalous’ and ‘opaque’, adding: ‘[We] don’t know who the judges are, we don’t know who the panel are, we haven’t had a judgment – just a press release and a letter.’
A group of ten Albanians who came ashore after Tuesday and are now at the Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow are among those who have received letters informing them that could be sent to Rwanda. All but a handful of the original 130 migrants given notice that they could be sent to Rwanda on Tuesday’s aborted flight remain in detention.
Ten Albanians are now at the Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow and received letters informing them they could be sent to Rwanda
Around a third are Sudanese, with others from Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria, Eritrea and Vietnam.
Fresh flights are considered unlikely before the outcome of the judicial review. One Home Office source said: ‘We’re still assessing the ECHR ruling. It’s very unusual and we weren’t expecting that.
‘It’s possible we could still try to charter new flights before the judicial review but we need to be sure they’re not just going to block people being removed again.
‘But we’re determined to keep on with the policy – nothing has changed for us.’
It is understood that officials were buoyed by the decision of the UK courts which has given them confidence about the outcome of the judicial review.