LONDON – The High Court in London ruled that the first flight to the African country, scheduled for Tuesday, could now go ahead.

Judge Jonathan Swift dismissed an application by critics of the plan to stop the flight by means of an injunction. It was in the public interest for Home Minister Patel to implement immigration policy decisions, Swift said. NGOs and a trade union had sought to stop the plans, arguing that deportation to the East African country would be “unsafe”.

Prime Minister Johnson’s government wants the scheme to crack down on smuggling gangs and make unwanted cross-Channel entries unattractive. According to Johnson’s plans, Rwanda will initially receive 120 million pounds (140 million euros) for the cooperation. The focus, according to the prime minister, is on single young men – especially those considered economic migrants. They should be able to settle in Rwanda just as easily.

Rwanda, meanwhile, has said it can receive and house “tens of thousands” of migrants as part of its cooperation with London.

Last year alone, more than 28 000 migrants crossed the English Channel into Britain. Rising immigration was a key issue in the 2016 Brexit vote.

The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, expressed “more than disappointment” with his government’s action, according to The Times newspaper. “He said he thought the government’s whole approach was appalling,” he had said, according to a source close to him.

Criticism also came from the UN, which considers the plans a violation of the International Convention on Refugees.