With hundreds of thousands of refugees worldwide, it appears as more countries are attempting to close their borders. Less than a year after Alfred Dubs helped the British government establish a European child refugee program, he is preventing its closure.
On Feb. 8, government officials announced the country will only accept 350 lone child refugees under the Dubs Amendment. Previously, campaigners fought for the country to accept 3,000 refugees.
Despite the low numbers of accepted children, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain’s method is the right approach. She explained that U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban was wrong and is not an action Britain will take.
“What we are doing in terms of refugees is absolutely right, on top, of course, of the significant financial support and humanitarian aid we are giving to refugees in the region of Syria,” she said. “A commitment of 2.3 billion pounds, the second-biggest bilateral donor.”
Dubs, a former child refugee from Czechoslovakia, immigrated to Britain when he was 6 years old. Dubs left his country because of the Nazi occupation and because his father was Jewish. He disagreed with the Prime Minister’s statements.
“They have no right to stop it at any point on any basis,” he said. “It’s going against the whole tenor of the parliamentary debate.”
During Wednesday’s announcement, government officials said 200 French children arrived and they expect at least 150 children in March. They said the country will accept the 350 children under the Dubs Act. Additionally, they say that the country will help 3,000 of the “most vulnerable children” from the Middle East and North Africa relocate to other areas.
Though British legislature passed the act last year, officials did not include a specific number of immigrants. Dubs originally proposed that the country allows 3,000 immigrants. However, officials did not formally decide on this number for the act’s documentation.
While some believe the prime minister’s decision is moving the country into the U.S.’s direction as far as immigration policies, Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd said otherwise.
According to Rudd, the United Kingdom is focusing on supporting child refugees in Syria and its surrounding countries.
“The UK has a strong reputation, in Europe and internationally, for looking after the most vulnerable that will continue,” she said. “We have a different approach to where the most vulnerable are. We believe that they are in the region. That’s why we have made a pledge to accept 3,000 children from the region and we are committed to delivering that. They are the most vulnerable.”
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