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HomeNewsIllegal Migration Act: Parts should not apply in NI, judge rules

Illegal Migration Act: Parts should not apply in NI, judge rules

Large parts of the UK government’s Illegal Migration Act should not apply in Northern Ireland because they breach human rights laws, a judge has ruled in a major defeat for ministers.

The judge at NI’s High Court said the law breaches the Windsor Framework.

It is the revised post-Brexit deal agreed between the UK and EU last year.

The ruling raises significant questions about the long-term viability of the plan to refuse some asylum seekers a hearing and send them to Rwanda.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Humphreys also declared parts of the act to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights – an ultimate sanction from a UK court which sends unworkable legislation back to UK Parliament to be rethought.

The 2023 Illegal Migration Act (IMA) is a key part of the UK government’s plan to stop English Channel crossings by people seeking asylum without prior permission to arrive.

It created laws that mean the Home Secretary must detain and remove anyone who arrives by that route and the plan had been to send them to Rwanda. That was until the Supreme Court ruled last year that the country was unsafe.

Parliament has since passed a law designating Rwanda as a safe country.

This key part of the IMA has been in limbo since then but is widely expected to come into action because it would make it easier to transfer people to the African nation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the NI court decision would not change the government’s plan to send illegal migrants to Rwanda.

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