More needs to be done to beef up the UK’s migrant detention centers to deal with people coming here illegally, said Home Secretary Suella Braverman. She added: “We’ve got several thousand places already that we use, we’ve got capacity there, and we will need to increase some of our detention capacity.”
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Ms Braverman said: “But what we believe, to work, is that once we are able to relocate people from the UK to Rwanda pursuant to our world-leading deal, that will have a significant deterrent. effect and people will stop making the journey in the first place.
“They’ll stop paying the evil people smuggling gangs in the first place, and numbers will come down.”
Around 45,000 migrants crossed the Channel in small boats last year with estimates predicting it could nearly double in 2023.
There is currently enough space to house around 2,000 illegal migrants in detention centers. Many more are being put up in hotels, costing taxpayers around £5.6million a day.
Ministers have already secured an “accommodation barge” that can hold hundreds of migrants, which is currently being refitted.
It has been confirmed that two former military bases in Lincolnshire and Essex and an ex-prison complex in East Sussex will be used to house people. Up to 3,700 will be accommodated at RAF Wethersfield in Essex and RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, with an extra 1,200 going to a former prison site in Bexhill.
In addition, Rishi Sunak is “bringing forward proposals” to use the Catterick Garrison barracks in his North Yorkshire constituency as another site.
The Home Secretary insisted on Sunday that Rwanda is a safe country for migrants, despite evidence that 12 Congolese refugees were shot dead by police there in 2018.
The High Court has found Rwanda to be safe, Ms Braverman said.
Under the government’s proposals, people who arrive through illegal routes could be sent to Rwanda on a one-way ticket to claim asylum there.
In December the High Court ruled the plan was legal, but the decision is going through an appeals process.
Labour’s shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy said the Rwanda policy was “a con trick being perpetrated on the British people”, as it would most likely never materialise.
She added that it had cost the taxpayer “a huge amount of money and has not seen a single person go to Rwanda”.
It comes as the number of Albanians traveling to Britain in small boats is falling in the face of tough new crackdown measures.
Last year, 28 percent of the 45,755 small-boat migrants crossing the Channel were Albanian.
But, for the first three months of this year, Albanians are thought to make up less than five percent of the 3,700 arrivals so far.
The development is being seen as a vindication of the government’s tough moves to deny boat migrants the right to claim asylum.
Some 500 Albanians who entered the UK illegally have been deported since Rishi Sunak agreed to a fast-track returns deal last December.