The number of ‘child’ migrants the UK is expected to take in the next 3 weeks, thanks to a new loophole in immigration law, has shot up from 450 to 650, with 200 having already arrived in the past week.
The revelation came after France accused the UK of trying to stall the process. According to The Times, an official close to the French interior minister said the Élysée Palace was furious Britain had “engaged in extremely difficult negotiations on a case-by-case basis [for each migrant]”.
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, blamed the French but announced after the row that Britain would take “several hundred more” migrants.
The migrants from Calais began to arrive in the UK last week, despite the government promising not to accept them from safe countries such as France, after the unelected House of Lords pushed through the Dubs Amendment’ to the immigration bill.
It was promised they would only be the most vulnerable children, with families in the UK. However, the Home Office has admitted they do not always confirm they have links to the UK and have no way of verifying their age, leading MPs to accuse the Home Office of “eroding public trust”.
Furthermore, it has been reported that around two-thirds of the ‘child’ migrants screened by Home Office officials in the past year have been found to be adults. After press scrutiny, a 15-foot high screen was erected to hide the migrants’ identities as they arrive in the UK.
French authorities are rushing to dismantle the notorious Jungle camp in Northern France in coming days, and the 6,000 to 10,000 people living there are being sent to centres all over France where they can apply for asylum.
Despite the fact the camp is set to disappear, the Home Secretary also pledged £36 million of extra funds for security, lighting, and fencing in Calais. The money can also fund deportations and relocation centres for migrants.
Ms. Rudd said yesterday: “The government has sought every opportunity to expedite the process to transfer children to the UK.
“My officials were only given access to the camp to interview children in the last week, and similarly we have only recently received agreement from the French government that we could bring Dubs cases [children with no family connection in Britain] to the UK.”
She added: “Before this we worked closely with the French behind the scenes but without their agreement it was not possible to make progress on taking non-family cases from Calais.”