On the morning of 16 June 2016, Nigel Farage posed for photographs, standing in front of a poster displaying a long line of Syrian refugees crossing the Croatia-Slovenia border.
Overlaid were two words in red block capitals: “BREAKING POINT”
And underneath: “The EU has failed us all. We must break free of the EU and take back control of our borders.”
The billboard was paraded through the streets of London, and widely condemned later that day by politicians from across the spectrum. George Osbourne called it “disgusting and vile”, saying it had “echoes” of 1930s Nazi propaganda.
Exactly one week later Britain voted to leave the European Union.
It was no secret that pro-Leave politicians had placed the topic of immigration front and centre of their campaign. The fear of an uncontrolled mass influx of immigration struck a chord with vast swathes of the population. Even now, with official control restored, Farage and his supporters still have a battle to fight.
There is no doubt the Channel crossings are both dangerous and exploitative. They pose a serious ethical question to all of us, regardless of our politics.
And the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced her answer last month. Any person arriving in a small boat seeking asylum would be flown to Rwanda, where their application will be processed.
Former part-time immigration judge and practising solicitor at Refugee Action Kingston Pat Monro believes the proposal is completely unfeasible.
She said: “If if it does take place, it will totally transform the face of refugees in this country.
“Many people take the view that it is in breach of international law, and there are legal challenges being put together as we speak.
“Leave aside the legalities of flying someone who’s just arrived here 4000 miles to Rwanda, I have no idea whether the machinery exists there for processing significant numbers of asylum claims.”
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