Refugee decision will help traffickers, says Bishop of Croydon

The Bishop of Croydon has joined the chorus of voices condemning the Tory government’s abandonment of a commitment to take in child refugees from the civil war in Syria and the Jungle camp at Calais.

Trades unionists and Croydon residents outside the Home Office's immigration centre at Lunar House last October, when the first refugees were brought into Britain under the Dubs amendment

Trades unionists and Croydon residents outside the Home Office’s immigration centre at Lunar House last October, when the first refugees were brought into Britain under the Dubs amendment

The Rt Rev Jonathan Clark has accused the government of “in effect helping the trafficking industry”.

Yesterday, the Home Office sneaked out a ministerial statement in the midst of the Brexit debate in parliament to say that Britain would stop receiving children via the Dubs amendment at the end of March.

The law had been championed by Alf Dubs, the former south London MP, now a member of the House of Lords, who had come to Britain in the 1930s via the Kindertransport, which rescued thousands of children from Nazi Germany and gave them welcoming homes here.

Yesterday, Lord Dubs said that the government’s decision to abandon the policy is a “shameful” decision. A legal challenge on how the government has handled the legal commitment will go ahead on Friday.

Just 350 lone child refugees have been brought to Britain in the four months since the Dubs amendment was agreed.

Campaigners had hoped the government would allow 3,000 minors to come to Britain under the scheme.

Bishop Clark:

Bishop Clark: ‘crying human need’. Photo: Lee Townsend

The Home Office said in a written statement the scheme will end in March because local authorities can not cope with any more arrivals.

The Bishop of Croydon says that this is not true.

“This appears to be a deliberate decision of will by the government rather than being forced on them and runs against the spirit of Lord Dubs’s original amendment,” he said.

“But most importantly there is a crying human need from children who will otherwise get into the hands of traffickers.

“By refusing to help those children, you are in effect helping the trafficking industry.”

The Bishop’s opposition to the Home Office’s move has backing from Christian groups and charities. Christian Aid said the decision was “not only a broken promise to vulnerable children, but a rejection of our international responsibilities”.

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