Lawyers representing up to 28 child refugees hope to be in the High Court next week, asking for the Home Secretary to explain why she has not granted them asylum in the UK.
The case rests on a point of law known as the “Dubs Amendment” – an amendment to the Immigration Bill which provides for the UK to admit child migrants who have no family links with the UK but are in a vulnerable position. Labour’s Lord Dubs was himself a child refugee, coming to the UK from Germany just before the Second World War.
Eleven of the children taking the legal action were refused entry to the UK, although they appear to meet the criteria of being under 18 and being stranded in a vulnerable condition. Lawyers hope the High Court will ask the Home Secretary to reveal the reasons for her decision. A further eight children are still waiting to hear the decisions in their applications. The children were all living in the “Jungle” camp in Calais, but were dispersed around France when the Jungle was eradicated a couple of months ago.
The lawyers allege that the Government took months to draw up a detailed policy to implement the Dubs amendment and that this policy was wrong to allow the Government to issue summary decisions, without giving reasons. This is also thought to be unfair because the Government had promised to be “flexible” when taking these decisions.
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott responded to news of the legal challenge by saying, “Our priority must be to protect these children, many of women have had to live through the very worst conditions and have lost all hope. It is morally unacceptable that children are being left in a miserable limbo.”
The Home Office has refused to comment while the case is ongoing.