Refugees (Family Reunion) (No.2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:03 am on 16th March 2018.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire 11:03 am, 16th March 2018

I respect my right hon. Friend and her position as a sponsor of the Bill. It is entirely her right to do that, but equally it is my right, and that of any Member, to hold contrary views. My argument, as I outlined earlier, is that some people game the system, which is wrong, and the risk, in my view, is that the Bill could encourage more people to do that or to undertake dangerous journeys and so sadly put more children in harm’s way.

Even the children that Sweden attempts to resettle can suffer if refugees are granted asylum without careful management. The article in The Telegraph stated that

“in 2004, it was absorbing about 400 children a year. Five years ago, this had grown to 2,600 - and even then, the system was starting to creak... Last year, 35,000 unaccompanied children claimed asylum in Sweden” and that

“providing the right care to so many is a task that would overwhelm a superpower, let alone a small Nordic state…
Care homes have been set up so quickly that they fall far short of what’s needed to protect the staff, let alone the children. On Monday, a 22-year- old working at one of the homes - herself the daughter of immigrants - was stabbed to death.”

This is no lone case:

“18 boys were found in an abandoned house with no toilets and no heating;
the temperature was well below zero. They were sleeping on the floor, many under the same quilt to keep warm - one was just nine years old. But after being placed in a care home, they ran away and ended up sleeping rough again.”

Further:

“There are ‘anchor children’, who are sent ahead by their desperate family”— the point that my hon. Friend the Member for Bexhill and Battle made earlier—

“There are also trafficked children, who may still be in the hands of gangmasters and are being forced into work or prostitution. And there are the ‘street children"’
who live in abandoned buildings and are often sucked into a criminal underworld.”

The article concluded:

“the lesson from the Continent is clear: to let in more immigrants than you can handle leads to trouble, but to admit more children”—