Report: At Least 25 Per Cent of ‘Child Migrants’ in Kent Are Actually Adults

UK Border Force officials transfer migrants in a Patrol Vessel after they were intercepted while travelling in a RIB from France to Dover, at the Marina in Dover, southeast England on August 14, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said illegal migrant crossings of the Channel, which …
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

At least 25 per cent of illegal boat migrants claiming to be minors are in fact over the age of 18, Kent Country Council (KCC) has revealed.

Over the past five years, over 400 of the 1,668 boat migrants who told immigration officials that they were children after crossing the English Channel from France in small rubber boats were later revealed to be adults.

A source at Kent County Council (KCC) told The Telegraph: “Following age assessment around 25 per cent are assessed as being 18 or over. They will then almost definitely appeal this through the courts and KCC pays all of the legal fees.”

The true figure is likely higher, as it is British policy not to challenge migrants’ alleged age unless they look over 25, and, unlike in some other European countries, tests such as dental checks are not conducted to verify their likely age range.

Adult migrants have often tried to fraudulently claim they were minors in order to bolster their chances of being granted asylum status in the United Kingdom.

An unnamed social worker told The Telegraph that many of the problems are arising from a lack of resources and staff, saying: “Norfolk, for example, are offering £32 per hour for social workers to work with the UASC, Southend Borough Council are only paying £28 for the same role. They will be required to drive to Dover to pick these young people up. Those who claim to be under 18 (as most do) will have to have an age assessment done, this can take months.”

“But age assessment social workers are like hens’ teeth. So the local authorities will normally go with the age declared.

“I find it appalling that these arrivals are being scattered across the UK without any criminal/terrorist/ID checks being done. They are now just being handed over to other local authorities,” the social worker warned.

The revelations come after a Sudanese migrant, Abdulfatah Hamdallah, who drowned in the English Channel last week was later revealed to be 28-years-old, contradicting widespread reports that he was 16.

With the massive influx of illegal boat migrants this year, the local council of Kent has been overwhelmed by the number claiming to be under the age of 18. The council said on Tuesday that it has reached its capacity in its ability to care for supposedly minor migrants.

There are currently 602 alleged child migrants being cared for in the county, coming at a cost to the local taxpayers of £200,000 per month. An additional 950 migrants between the ages of 18 and 25 are also being cared for in the county on the taxpayer’s dime.

The KCC has shipped 111 supposed unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs) to other councils throughout the country since the start of June.

The practice of illegal migrants gaming the British immigration system by claiming to be children has been longstanding. For example, an Afghani migrant, Haris Stanikzai, who claimed to be just 16-years-old in 2016 was later revealed to be 22 after pictures from a dating website showed him with a full beard.

In another infamous example, a migrant estimated to be 38-years-old was brought to Britain from the Calais Jungle migrant camp with hundreds of other dubious-looking “child migrants”.

Pro-migration activists had initially claimed that he was serving as an adult language interpreter for non-English speaking migrants after his photo was published, but this turned out to be false, and he was indeed supposed to be a child.

Some of these adult migrants ultimately end up in schools with local children.

In 2016, The Telegraph reported that immigration officials typically take the word of migrants as to their age unless they appeared to be clearly over the age of 25.

Then chairman of the Local Government Association’s asylum, refugee, and migration task group said: “In a supermarket if a person doesn’t look over the age of 25, the shop worker will ask for ID before selling them alcohol. But in the case of border control, it works the other way around. They are told to err on the side of trusting that the person is telling the truth unless they look over 25.”

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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