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Friday, 10 February 2017
Tories slam door on child refugees
THE TORY government issued a written Home Office statement on Wednesday saying it is closing the door on child refugees at the end of March and stopping them entering the UK via the ‘Dubs Amendment’.
The law, designed by Labour peer and former refugee Lord Dubs, aims to help some of the estimated 90,000 unaccompanied child refugees in Europe. The peer, himself a former child refugee, has condemned the ‘shameful’ decision and a legal challenge will go ahead today.
The Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 followed months of pressure from campaigners and members of the public to welcome children from the refugee camp in Calais. It requires the home secretary to bring a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children to the UK and while there was no target number written into the legislation, Dubs and his supporters suggested the UK could welcome 3,000.
But in Wednesday’s statement, Tory Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said 200 have arrived and a further 150 may follow by the end of March. Condemning the decision, Lord Dubs said: ‘During the Kindertransport, Sir Nicky Winton rescued 669 children from Nazi persecution virtually single-handedly.
‘I was one of those lucky ones. It would be a terrible betrayal of his legacy if as a country we were unable to do more than this to help a new generation of child refugees. I urge the prime minister to show leadership by continuing and building on this programme, not shutting the door to some of the most vulnerable refugee children.’
Help Refugees has launched a judicial review, to be heard today, arguing that ministers failed to consult local authorities about how many unaccompanied children could be housed.
Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clark said: ‘The Dubs amendment, as Alf Dubs originally put it forward, proposed a commitment to 3,000 children and ministers signalled that the government would abide by the spirit of the original amendment. There is a huge question over how about 400 is in the spirit of 3,000.’
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