Liberal Democrats

F13: Emergency motion: Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Children

10 members

Mover: Baroness Shas Sheehan (Shadow Secretary of State for International Development)

Summation: Cllr Chris White 

Conference notes that:

  1. More people have been internationally displaced by conflict and crisis than at any time since World War II and many of the displaced are currently seeking refuge in Europe – from Syria alone, three million have been displaced by conflict and crisis. B. In 2015 over 90,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in Europe – many tens of thousands more have reached Europe but not claimed asylum. C. The Government continues to obstruct efforts to create safe and legal routes for refugees arguing that this creates ‘pull factors’, an argument that has not been evidenced. D. Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, which established a scheme to allow the resettlement of unaccompanied child refugees, was passed as an amendment to the Act (known as the ‘Dubs Amendment’) with
  2. In 2015 over 90,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in Europe – many tens of thousands more have reached Europe but not claimed asylum. C. The Government continues to obstruct efforts to create safe and legal routes for refugees arguing that this creates ‘pull factors’, an argument that has not been evidenced. D. Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, which established a scheme to allow the resettlement of unaccompanied child refugees, was passed as an amendment to the Act (known as the ‘Dubs Amendment’) with
  3. The Government continues to obstruct efforts to create safe and legal routes for refugees arguing that this creates ‘pull factors’, an argument that has not been evidenced. D. Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, which established a scheme to allow the resettlement of unaccompanied child refugees, was passed as an amendment to the Act (known as the ‘Dubs Amendment’) with
  4. Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, which established a scheme to allow the resettlement of unaccompanied child refugees, was passed as an amendment to the Act (known as the ‘Dubs Amendment’) with cross party support after a groundswell of public support and campaigning.

Conference notes with concern that:

  1. In February 2017, the Government announced the closure of the resettlement scheme expecting to take only 350 child refugees via this route – predominantly from Calais.
  2. The Government cited limitations in council capacity to accommodate unaccompanied child refugees contrary to evidence suggesting that councils had spare capacity and would be willing to take more unaccompanied minors from Europe.
  3. A recent amendment which, if accepted, would have obliged councils to identify their capacity to accommodate unaccompanied child refugees, was defeated in the Commons by a very slim majority.

Conference believes that:

  1. The decision to close the resettlement scheme is a betrayal of the wishes of the British people.
  2. Government should live up to the spirit of the Dubs amendment.
  3. It is the responsibility of central government to provide funding for the resettlement of unaccompanied child refugees to ensure councils are able to deliver on the UK’s obligations to act as a sanctuary for those in need.

Conference calls for the Government to:

  1. Reopen the Dubs scheme immediately.
  2. Re-engage with local authorities to establish actual capacity for resettlement, and publish this capacity.
  3. Continue to work with European and other international partners to establish safe and legal routes to resettlement.

Applicability: Federal except 2. (lines 28–29) which is England only

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