Q&A on welcoming child refugees to Britain

Can Britain afford to do more to help child refugees? Your questions and concerns are answered here.

 

 

Aren’t unaccompanied children better off joining their families rather than coming to the UK?

The best option is always to reunite children with their family. That’s why as part of meeting the 3,000 children commitment, Britain should prioritise those children with family here in the UK who could look after them.

However in many cases this simply isn’t possible. We cannot return children to Syria or conflict zones if they’ve left their family behind, and many more children are alone in Europe because their parents and family are dead.

Too many of these children are just disappearing - often into the arms of smuggler gangs, prostitution or drug rings, abuse and exploitation.

 

Won’t accepting more refugees to Britain encourage more people to make the dangerous journey to Europe?

This is a Syrian-driven crisis not a Europe-driven one. As long as bombs continue to fall on people’s homes and Daesh continues to terrorise the Syrian people, families will continue to flee. 

More action is needed to stop the gangs and prevent people making dangerous journeys. But we cannot just ignore the thousands of children who are already in Europe with no one to care for them. Children's homes in Italy are full, Greece cannot cope, and on our own doorstep in Calais child protection is completely failing.

All countries including Britain need to do our bit to help refugees both from the region and in Europe. Our responsibility is the same whether in the region or in Europe.

 

Isn’t it better for refugees to remain closer to home?

Most refugees want to stay as close as possible to home in the hope that they will be able to return and rebuild their country. Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are already supporting 4m refugees but they can’t do it alone. if we want those countries to keep helping then Europe has to do its but too.

This is a global crisis and all countries, including Britain but also the United States and Canada should be doing their bit to take in refugees from the region.

 

Local Authorities are already facing huge budget cuts, how can they cope with more refugees?

The Tory cuts have put local authorities under huge strain. But this isn’t an either or. One of the most remarkable features of this crisis has been the outpouring of generosity communities, faith groups and individuals have shown to help Britain do our bit to help refugees of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.  And we also know that there are many child refugees who have family in the UK who could look after them.

 

Why are you only calling for Britain to help children?

We’re not. Britain should and could do more to help refugees in Europe and the region. When 4,000 people a day are arriving in Greece, David Cameron’s commitment to take 4,000 refugees a year simply isn’t enough. But the priority now should be to help children as they are at greatest risk of abuse, criminal gangs or prostitution.

 

Then how many refugees should Britain take?

If every city, county or London borough took just 10 refugee families, then we could take 10,000 refugees this year. We should ask communities to come forward and tell us how many refugees they could help. Many areas have already said they are ready and willing to help, but the Government hasn’t responded. This isn’t easy, but Britain has done it before and we can do it again.

 

Don’t EU figures show that the majority of people arriving in Europe are economic migrants rather than genuine refugees?

No, according to UNHCR half of all arrivals to Europe are Syrians and 88% are from the world’s top 10 refugee producing countries. Women and children also now make up the majority of the arrivals.

 

Will this put people off staying in the EU?

This is a Syrian crisis not an EU crisis and Brexit won't stop Syrians fleeing. We should help child refugees because that is the British way not because we are in the EU.

 

If Europe is failing to solve the crisis are we better off out?

Brexit would make it harder to deal with the refugee crisis. Countries need to work together across borders to solve this as no country can cope alone.

Refugees with family in Britain will keep trying to get here whether we are in the EU or not. We rely on other countries to check and help refugees along the way. That would be harder if we pulled out. And French officials and politicians have warned that the UK border might return from Calais to Dover if we vote to leave

 

Aren’t unaccompanied children better off joining their families rather than coming to the UK?

The best option is always to reunite children with their family. That’s why as part of meeting the 3,000 children commitment, Britain should prioritise those children with family here in the UK who could look after them.

However in many cases this simply isn’t possible. We cannot return children to Syria or conflict zones if they’ve left their family behind, and many more children are alone in Europe because their parents and family are dead.

Too many of these children are just disappearing - often into the arms of smuggler gangs, prostitution or drug rings, abuse and exploitation.

 

Won’t accepting more refugees to Britain encourage more people to make the dangerous journey to Europe?

This is a Syrian-driven crisis not a Europe-driven one. As long as bombs continue to fall on people’s homes and Daesh continues to terrorise the Syrian people, families will continue to flee. 

More action is needed to stop the gangs and prevent people making dangerous journeys. But we cannot just ignore the thousands of children who are already in Europe with no one to care for them. Children's homes in Italy are full, Greece cannot cope, and on our own doorstep in Calais child protection is completely failing.

All countries including Britain need to do our bit to help refugees both from the region and in Europe. Our responsibility is the same whether in the region or in Europe.

 

Isn’t it better for refugees to remain closer to home?

Most refugees want to stay as close as possible to home in the hope that they will be able to return and rebuild their country. Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are already supporting 4m refugees but they can’t do it alone. if we want those countries to keep helping then Europe has to do its but too.

This is a global crisis and all countries, including Britain but also the United States and Canada should be doing their bit to take in refugees from the region.

 

Local Authorities are already facing huge budget cuts, how can they cope with more refugees?

The Tory cuts have put local authorities under huge strain. But this isn’t an either or. One of the most remarkable features of this crisis has been the outpouring of generosity communities, faith groups and individuals have shown to help Britain do our bit to help refugees of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.  And we also know that there are many child refugees who have family in the UK who could look after them.

 

Why are you only calling for Britain to help children?

We’re not. Britain should and could do more to help refugees in Europe and the region. When 4,000 people a day are arriving in Greece, David Cameron’s commitment to take 4,000 refugees a year simply isn’t enough. But the priority now should be to help children as they are at greatest risk of abuse, criminal gangs or prostitution.

 

Then how many refugees should Britain take?

Yvette has said that if every city, county or London borough took just 10 refugee families, then we could take 10,000 refugees this year. She has said we should ask communities to come forward and tell us how many refugees they could help. Many areas have already said they are ready and willing to help, but the Government hasn’t responded. This isn’t easy, but Britain has done it before and we can do it again.

 

Don’t EU figures show that the majority of people arriving in Europe are economic migrants rather than genuine refugees?

No, according to UNHCR half of all arrivals to Europe are Syrians and 88% are from the world’s top 10 refugee producing countries. Women and children also now make up the majority of the arrivals.

 

Will this put people off staying in the EU?

This is a Syrian crisis not an EU crisis and Brexit won't stop Syrians fleeing. We should help child refugees because that is the British way not because we are in the EU.

 

If Europe is failing to solve the crisis are we better off out?

Brexit would make it harder to deal with the refugee crisis. Countries need to work together across borders to solve this as no country can cope alone.

Refugees with family in Britain will keep trying to get here whether we are in the EU or not. We rely on other countries to check and help refugees along the way. That would be harder if we pulled out. And French officials and politicians have warned that the UK border might return from Calais to Dover if we vote to leave