The home secretary was given a tour of potential migrant housing on her first publicly-funded trip to Rwanda as 209 people were confirmed to have made the journey across the Channel on Friday.
Suella Braverman joked about interior designers during her visit on Saturday as she set out to reaffirm her commitment to the Rwanda deportation policy.
No migrants have been relocated to the country so far as the deal, which was signed last April by Ms Braverman’s predecessor Priti Patel, remains embroiled in legal battles.
During her visit, the government reported that 209 people had crossed the Channel in small boats on Friday, after five days of no reported crossings.
On Saturday morning, Ms Braverman was given a tour of housing which could provide long-term homes to migrants after the land was purchased by the Rwandan government.
Looking inside one of the properties, she said: “These houses are really beautiful, great quality, really welcoming and I really like your interior designer. I need some advice for myself,” Ms Braverman added.
Migrants arriving from the UK would be housed in hostels and hotels in the short-term.
One refugee living in Rwanda told reporters he had “never felt I have been considered as a foreigner”, but said he did not see the African nation having the capacity to hold “many thousands” of migrants.
Fesseha Teame, 48, who has a wife and four children, was speaking after Ms Braverman claimed: “Rwanda has the capacity to resettle many thousands of people, and can quickly stand up accommodation once flights begin.”
The home secretary also said the suggestion that Rwanda could only take 200 people is a “completely false narrative peddled by critics who want to scrap the deal”.
Ahead of her trip, the home secretary said the plan “will act as a powerful deterrent against dangerous and illegal journeys”.
She is due to meet President Paul Kagame and her counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal. She will also meet with investment start-up professionals and entrepreneurs, to discuss the range of business and employment opportunities available in Rwanda.
The government’s plan to forcibly remove migrants to the African nation is currently grounded by the courts with asylum seekers being told on Tuesday they could appeal against Home Office decisions to relocate them.
A group of individuals from countries including Iran, Iraq and Syria are aiming to overturn rulings made by two High Court judges in December – who dismissed a series of legal bids against the government’s plan.
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