Suella Braverman visited Rwanda this weekend in an attempt to push the government's plan to send migrants entering the UK on small boats to the central African country.
The government's plan has faced widespread criticism and failed thus far to get off the ground, amid legal challenges from numerous charities and claims the move is in breach of the Refugee Convention - of which the UK is a member.
Refugee charities have said the government's new law makes some refugees inadmissible to claim asylum in the UK based on how they arrive to the country.
But Braverman told Sky News: "We’re not breaking the law, and no government representative has said that we’re breaking the law. In fact, we’ve made it very clear that we believe we’re in compliance with all of our international obligations, for example the refugee convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, other conventions to which we are subject.
"They are breaking our laws, they are abusing the generosity of the British people and we now need to ensure that they are deterred from doing that."
During her two-day visit to Rwanda, during which she toured housing estates and a non-profit university whose population must include a 25% refugee intake, Braverman said the refugees already living in the country were grateful for a chance to rebuild their lives. "I would call it a blessing," she said.
"I regret the snobbery and the unjustified negativity that critics throw at our partnership with Rwanda," she said. "This is my third time in Rwanda. I’ve been a friend of Rwanda’s for many years. They are a welcoming country, they are warm people and they are a genuine beacon of home for thousands of people already seeking refuge."
Read more: UK minister faces hostile return after Rwanda asylum trip (AFP, 2-min read)
How much will the Rwanda plan cost the UK?
The British government has already shelled out £120 million over the plan, describing the cost as "development funding" ahead of people removed from the UK arriving in Rwanda
However, there will also be an ongoing cost, according to the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership: "Ministers expect these will be similar to asylum processing costs in the UK (around £12,000 per person)," while the "UK has also committed to resettling a small but unspecified number of vulnerable refugees currently in Rwanda" - which will presumably come at an additional cost.
However, the Refugee Council has put an additional cost of the small boats plan at around £1 billion per year, warning that attempting to remove people who arrive in the UK "illegally" will leave thousands of people in limbo - detained in the UK at a huge cost to the taxpayer.
The UK spent around £898 million on food and accommodation for refugees in 2021 (around 7.5% of the aid budget) as well as a further £727 million on costs including scholarships, according to the UK Parliament.
Read more: Suella Braverman attacks Rwanda deportations ‘snobbery’ as European judges near climbdown (The Telegraph, 5-min read)