Queens Park Rangers (QPR) football club is set to bring 1,000 so-called “child migrants” from France to the UK.
The club, which was relegated from the Premier League last year after just one season, will send a fleet of coaches to Calais to bring the alleged unaccompanied minors into Britain.
The London club is taking part in a plan formed with its local council, Hammersmith & Fulham, which will send volunteer social workers to France in the next few days.
Lord Alf Dubs, who has been at the forefront of attempts to bring migrants claiming to be children to the UK, announced the plan in a letter to Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann.
Sent on Monday, it says: “I formally request that the French government allows us to send in coaches and social workers to collect those refugee children that have a right to be here in the UK. We will need assistance with travel documents out of France. We have people arranging the coordination of this.
“I am also writing the British government and hope that this intervention can bring the assistance the refugee children so desperately need. Given the urgency of this matter I should be grateful for a quick response,” the letter concludes.
In a statement to parliament, the home secretary said authorities in France have only very recently granted the UK government access to the site in Calais where so-called unaccompanied minors are being housed in containers, along with permission for migrants to be brought to Britain under the Dubs amendment.
Under the amendment, the government is committed to offering asylum to “unaccompanied minors” who have no links to the UK in addition to so-called child migrants entitled to enter Britain under the Dublin act due to family ties. It was defeated in the Commons, as public opinion is strongly against further migration, but pushed through by the House of Lords.
Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, Steve Cowan, has been working closely with the Labour peer on plans to bring migrant youths into the UK.
He said: “The situation for the children in France is chaotic, violent and dangerous. So many people have come up to me and said: ‘How can we leave children in these conditions in 2016?’
“We have social workers on standby ready to go to France as soon as the French authorities give us permission to go in and collect the children, and generous benefactors such as QPR who are providing us with a fleet of coaches to collect the children.
“Lord Dubs has shown the necessary leadership here, first by getting the amendment passed in parliament allowing these vulnerable children to be brought to the UK and now by writing to the French government asking them to let us go to France to collect these children and bring them back here.”
Concerns have been raised that adult migrants are posing as children to gain entry to the UK after it emerged that a shocking 65 per cent of alleged “unaccompanied minors” were found to be over 18 according to Home Office figures collected in the year to September 2015.
Councils have revealed that the true cost of housing each “unaccompanied minor” will be £133,000 per year, and warned that Britons could face council tax hikes as a result.
Chairman of the Local Government Association’s asylum, refugee, and migration task group, David Simmonds, said: ““How are the public going to feel if in a year’s time we are saying sorry we have got to close the library or close children’s centres because we have taken in refugee children and the Government is not willing to pay for it.”