Nearly 45,000 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel since the Government signed the Rwanda deal a year ago.
This includes almost 5,000 people who have made the journey so far this year, despite a promised crackdown.
The figures come as Rishi Sunak admitted his plans to stop boats crossing the Channel “won’t happen overnight” and declined to promise they could be completed by the next general election.
Suella Braverman told of her “dream” of seeing the Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda succeed after she was appointed Home Secretary, a policy which High Court judges ruled is lawful but has so far been stalled by legal action.
Her predecessor Priti Patel signed what she described as a “world-first” agreement with Rwanda on April 14 last year to send migrants deemed to have arrived in the UK “illegally” to the east African nation.
There were 44,826 migrants recorded arriving in the UK after crossing the Channel between April 15 2022 and April 13 2023, according to analysis of Government figures by the PA news agency.
As of Thursday, the total for 2023 to date stood at 4,899, with no crossings recorded since Monday amid bad weather conditions in the Channel.
April 5 saw the year’s highest daily total for arrivals so far (492). But the 1,295 detected on August 22 2022 is still the highest number of people on record to arrive in a single day since 2018.
£140 million payment
In November Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft confirmed Britain had already paid Rwanda £140 million under the deal but said he was still unsure whether the policy was value for money.
According to The Times, the Home Office also spent £163,000 on Ms Patel’s trip to the capital Kigali to announce the deal as well as at least £22,000 on trips for officials to discuss the agreement.
A further £300,000 was spent on the first deportation flight, due to take off on June 14, which was grounded amid legal challenges, while the cost of Ms Braverman’s first visit to Rwanda as home secretary last month is yet to be disclosed, the newspaper said.
The battle over the legality of the policy continues, with a four-day hearing listed at the Court of Appeal from April 24.
The Prime Minister pledged to “stop the boats” as one of his five main priorities while in office.
In an interview with ConservativeHome on Thursday, Mr Sunak said the immigration issue is “complicated” with “no single, simple solution”.
He said he expects a legal battle over the “novel, untested” and “ambitious” Illegal Migration Bill, which is going through Parliament, and confirmed there “may well be” an interim judgment from the European Court of Human Rights against the policy, as happened with the Rwanda scheme.
The Government has vowed to change the law to make it clear people arriving in the UK illegally will not be allowed to stay, either facing deportation back to their home country or a nation like Rwanda where a deal is in place.
Attempts by ministers and officials to use a former RAF base in Essex to house asylum seekers are also set to end up in court.
Braintree District Council said it has been granted an injunction hearing at the High Court on April 19 and the Home Office has agreed not to move any migrants on to the Wethersfield site until after that date.