UK Government closes door on ‘Dubs’ lone refugee children scheme
Outcry after Home Office announces no more lone children will come to UK for protection
Refugee children in Greece, by Steve Evans
A scheme to grant lone refugee children asylum in Britain is to end after only 150 more enter the country, UK immigration minister Robert Goodwill has said.
The ‘Dubs’ scheme, named after the Lord whose successful amendment introduced the initiative, had originally aimed to resettle thousands of lone child refugees from Europe in the UK. So far it has resettled around 200 children without families, according to Goodwill, and will take only 150 more.
Campaigners have reacted angrily, while Scotland’s First Minister has called the decision “shameful” on Twitter.
In a written statement, Goodwill said over 900 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children had been transferred to the UK from Europe in 2016, but the majority were reunited with families already here.
“In addition to the tens of thousands of children in conflict regions and in Europe that are benefiting from UK aid and development assistance, we are providing protection to thousands of children in the UK each year,” he said.
“The UK should be proud of its overall contribution.”
He said local authorities had informed the Home Office they only had the capacity to provide places for 400 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children until the end of March.
Yvette Cooper, Labour chair of the Commons home affairs committee has been part of the campaign in support of the Dubs amendment.
“The Dubs amendment was designed to help the most vulnerable child refugees of all – those with no family to look after them, who are incredibly vulnerable to trafficking or exploitation,” she said.
“Dubs was never time-limited and the government said they would abide by both the word and the spirit of the amendment. No one ever suggested we would only help children for a few months then turn our backs, especially when the global refugee crisis shows no sign of abating. Whatever happened to the government’s commitment to ending modern slavery and trafficking?”
Lord Dubs himself arrived in the UK on the Kindertransport, which resettled thousands of lone children fleeing the Nazis between 1938 and 1940.
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