The Calais demolition will leave thousands homeless including 423 unaccompanied children.
THIS WEEK (9th March - 16 March) the Lords will be voting on the provisions of the Immigration Bill including the "Dubs Amendment" (the acceptance by the UK of 3,000 unaccompanied children) and the "Hylton Amendment" (the extension of the parameters of family reunion and legal aid provision). There's STILL TIME to pressure peers to support these amendments because voting will go on to next Wednesday 16th! So can you help?
Write to LABOUR and CROSSBENCH peers (Members of the House of Lords) to ask them to SUPPORT both amendments (the Lib Dems are already on board) You can use any of the following information:
The French authorities are currently forcibly evicting people from the Calais camps without adequate alternative accommodation, amongst them 423 unaccompanied children. There is widespread public support in the UK for bringing over child refugees and it is imperative that due to political concerns the unaccompanied children of Calais and Dunkirk are not overlooked.
The full texts of the proposed amendments are as follows:
THE "DUBS" AMENDMENT:
115 Insert the following new Clause—
Why should peers support it?
1). The conditions in camps across Europe – particularly Dunkirk – are not suitable for adult habitation (let alone children). There is no protection for unaccompanied minors, and the opportunities for child exploitation, trafficking, abuse and kidnapping are rife. The Calais camp will shortly be demolished and the French authorities have not provided sufficient alternatives so many will be driven into the small unprotected squats that are springing up along the coast (currently at least 12 small squats have been identified by organisations working on the ground)
2). Public support for bringing over child refugees is clear. Thousands of people and faith groups have offered to house child refugees, so there can be no disagreement on economic terms. It is more important than ever that the government commit to this agreement as camps across Europe are hit by winter weather.
3). Bringing 3000 unaccompanied refugee children to the UK emphasises the government’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 3 states that ‘the best interests of the child shall be the primary consideration’; we should not be punishing innocent children for something they have no choice in.
THE HYLTON AMENDMENT
120 Insert the following new Clause—
(2) An order shall be made by the Lord Chancellor under section 9(2)(a) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (general cases) in respect of family reunion for the persons described in subsection within six months of the passing of this Act.”
Why should peers support it?
1). Under current legislation, people granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK can apply to legally bring family members to the UK. Currently, only married partners and dependent children under the age of 18 are defined as “family”. The Hylton amendment broadens the definition of family to include grandchildren, grandparents, and civil or unmarried partners.
2). This could potentially mean that tens (or possibly thousands) of asylum seekers across Europe who have grandchildren, grandparents, and civil or unmarried partners could be granted humanitarian leave in the UK.
3). The justification for this amendment is clear; a grandchild or unmarried partner is no less a ‘family’ member than a dependent child or partner. There is, therefore, no reason why they should not qualify for family reunion.
Once these provisions have been voted on (around the 16th) then the bill will return to the Commons for "ping-pong". Please do write and let the peers know where we stand!
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