According to a report in The Telegraph, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is working on an agreement with Italy to stop the flow of migrants who are travelling over the Mediterranean and send them back to North Africa.

Midway through June, Sunak sent Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, the highest ranking civil servant in the UK, to Italy for two days of negotiations with senior government figures.

The Cabinet Secretary met with senior Italian authorities and ministers in Rome to examine how we might work more closely together to combat illegal immigration. We should collaborate closely with our foreign partners since this is a top priority for both the Prime Minister and the British people, a government official was reported as saying by the tabloid.

“We have to deal with the issue at source and focus on small boats if we are going to be successful in tackling illegal migration,” the insider continued.

The two European countries signed an MoU in April to work together as part of the “Strategic Migration Partnership” to address the challenge of illegal immigration.

We will detain you: Sunak to illegal migrants

One of Sunak’s five commitments for 2023, which he announced at the beginning of the year amid considerable fanfare, was to prevent immigrants from entering the UK illegally. The Illegal Migration Bill was then brought before the House of Commons by Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Sunak gave illegal immigrants travelling across the English Channel a deadline at the time.

The people’s focus is stopping the boats, not just mine. Our stance is unequivocal: if you enter this country illegally, you are not eligible to apply for asylum.

Sunak’s excitement, however, seemed to wane a month later when he stated that his proposal to ban small boats from crossing the Channel “won’t happen overnight.” He extended the deadline for completing his tasks past the general elections.

The Rwandan scheme

In April of last year, Priti Patel, a former interior minister, introduced the “Rwanda Asylum Policy,” which mandated that immigrants who entered the UK through “illegal” ways would be transported to the African nation of Rwanda to apply for asylum.

However, since its start, the project has been mired in legal issues. A three-judge bench at the Court of Appeal rejected the proposal earlier this week, stating that there was a genuine risk that asylum seekers transported to Rwanda would be unjustly sent back to their home countries.

After the verdict, Sunak put on a brave face and declared that he was “positive” about the possibility of having the ruling overturned. Despite Sunak’s confidence, the choice was a setback for his party’s strategy for dealing with the problem.

When more than 45,000 individuals entered the UK in 2022, topping the previous year’s record by more than 17,000, the immigration issue peaked.

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