Tuesday briefing: The global impact of UK supreme court’s ruling on Rwanda deportation plan


Good morning. Five supreme court judges are this week deciding whether the UK government plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda should go ahead.The decision of the UK’s highest court will be life-changing for more than 24,000 asylum seekers issued with letters warning them that they are being considered for forcible removal. It will also either make home secretary Suella Braverman’s “dream” come true or poleaxe a key part of Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats”.

Whichever way the ruling goes, it will cause a fundamental shift in how asylum seekers are treated, not just in the UK but in dozens of countries around the world, who are watching with interest. If the UK can shift part of its migration crisis 6,000 miles away, why can’t they?

After the headlines, we will get you up to speed on what’s happened so far, and what could happen next, with Guardian contributor and migration expert Daniel Trilling, who has written a long read about the plan.

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To understand how we got here, Daniel says, we need to rewind a couple of prime ministers back to 2020. “The number of small boat crossings was starting to rise fast, and Boris Johnson was under a lot of pressure from the right of the Conservative party to do something about it. They were desperately casting around to find a new set of policies to act as deterrents for people considering crossing in the future.”

From the start, a key idea for the UK was to move asylum seekers somewhere else. Since 2012 Australia had been sending those attempting to reach its shores in small boats to offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, in a policy that has been described as cruel, costly and ineffective.
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