Citizens UK revealed today that they have identified 170 unaccompanied children in Calais who have a legal right to be with their families in the UK while their asylum claims are processed. This coincides with today’s launch of the Home Affairs Committee report, Migration Crisis, which finds that family reunification for unaccompanied minors in Calais is taking too long, and says those children "should already have arrived" in the UK. It goes on to recommend that the Government should, as a one-off, accept all of these children into the UK now.
Citizens UK Chair, Kaneez Shahid, said:
“We welcome the recommendation in today’s report that unaccompanied minors in Calais who have a legal right to be with their families in the UK should be resettled immediately. Without the political will, some of those children will face another winter in Calais while their family reunification claims are processed. Safe Passage and Citizens UK have found that on average three or four children a week are being resettled, and their cases are taking months to process.
It is absurd that Government’s adherence to bureaucracy means that 170 children are stuck living in a field, alone, surrounded by strangers, in between two of the richest countries in the world.”
Citizens UK also coordinate over 90 Refugee Welcome groups in the UK. Commenting on the news that the government are likely to miss their target on the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, Kaneez Shahid said:
“It is no surprise that the government will miss its resettlement target. There are over 90 Refugee Welcome groups across the UK who are keen to resettle Syrians in their local areas, and many are yet to welcome a single refugee. It is telling that Citizens UK actually have more people signed up to help resettle refugees than there are refugees to resettle.
The British people have a proud history of providing sanctuary to those in need. It is vital that the Government listen to the will of the people, who stand ready and willing to offer help and support to more refugees.”