Last week, the government announced it would bring over just 150 more unaccompanied child refugees under the Dubs scheme, drawing widespread criticism.
But in the coming week our MPs have the chance to change this – and you can help make sure they do.
What is the Dubs scheme?
Named after Lord Alf Dubs, who came to Britain as a child refugee during the Second World War, the ‘Dubs scheme’ was introduced in May 2016 after he sponsored an amendment to the Immigration Act.
It means that the government can relocate lone child refugees who have arrived in Europe to the UK.
What should the government do now?
Child refugees have escaped horrors we can barely imagine and survived perilous and often terrifying journeys.
They now deserve a fair chance at a proper childhood – one where they can be safe, learn and have fun.
Here are five things the government must do to ensure the system works for child refugees who are vulnerable and alone.
1. Be clear that this is not the end of the Dubs scheme
Last week’s announcement gave the distinct impression Dubs was over – closed – with just 150 more places left for vulnerable lone refugee children.
There is no excuse for this. The amendment remains in law – what is missing is local authority places to support children.
2. The government must find more places for children
What’s needed at the moment is places for children to be moved to.
The government must therefore work with local authorities to find these safe places for children who qualify under Dubs.
3. Stay focused on what is best for children
Many of the children who have made it to Greece, Italy and France have been through horrific experiences.
Every child must be supported in a way that is best for them – that means treating each one as an individual.
Bringing to them to Britain must be planned with their best interests at the heart of it – it shouldn’t be rushed.
4. Make the most of existing schemes
Alongside the Dubs scheme there are other processes that can help protect refugee children.
The government already backs a scheme called Dublin III, and should make the most of it as it helps bring back together vulnerable children with family members already in the UK.
5. Change the story
Last week in response to growing outrage around the Dubs announcement, the government claimed that schemes like this act as a ‘pull factor’, encouraging children to leave their homes and travel to Europe.
In reality, the opposite is true – safe routes into the UK keep children out of the hands of traffickers.
By supporting them we can manage this crisis, protect children and uphold the best of British values by providing sanctuary to those who need it most.
What you can do now
Parliament will be debating the future of the Dubs amendment on Thursday 23rd February.
This is a chance for MPs to make the case for a clear plan that helps child refugees and upholds British values.
It’s vital that as many MPs as possible are there to stand up for child refugees.
Will you email your MP to tell them why it’s important to you that they show up?