These don’t look like children to me’: Concerns raised over ages of child refugees arriving in Britain


 Children from the migrant camp arrive in south London to register with the Home Office after travelling by coach from CalaisChildren from the migrant camp arrive in south London to register with the Home Office after travelling by coach from Calais CREDIT: NICK EDWARDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH

 

By: Peter Dominiczak (political editor) & Steven Swinford (deputy political editor) Uk Telegraph

The Home Office has no way of verifying the age of child refugees being brought to the UK, it has emerged amid concerns that adults are posing as minors to gain access to Britain.

Fourteen “teenagers” on Monday arrived in the UK from Calais as a fast-track system was launched to transfer youngsters from the “Jungle” camp before it is demolished.
The Home Office insisted it had “verified” the ages of all the refugees and that all of those who were brought to the UK were aged between 14 and 17.

Lunar House
The youngsters arrive by coach at Lunar House, the head office of UK Visas and Immigration, in Croydon, south London CREDIT: NICK EDWARDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH

However, Conservative MPs warned that photographs of the refugees suggested that many of the group were older than 17.

Home Office documents show that if a refugee does not have a birth certificate, a Home Office screening officer can certify them as a child based on their “physical appearance” or “demeanor”.

The document states that refugees “should be treated as an adult if their physical appearance/demeanor very strongly suggests that they are significantly over 18 years of age”.

 

However, it says that “all other applicants should be afforded the benefit of the doubt and treated as children”.

The guide for Home Office officials adds: “All available sources of relevant information and evidence should be considered, since no single assessment technique, or combination of techniques, is likely to determine the applicant’s age with precision.”

David Davies , the Conservative MP for Monmouth, said: “These don’t look like ‘children’ to me. I hope British hospitality is not being abused.”

Jungle camp
An aerial view of the Jungle camp in Calais in August, when it was home to more than 9,000 migrants CREDIT: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP

He added: “These young men don’t look like minors to me. They are hulking teenagers who look older than 18. I’m all for helping the genuine children but the well of goodwill is rapidly being exhausted here.

“I’m also curious that there are no young women – I would have thought they would be much more vulnerable. I worry that once again British hospitality is being abused.

“There is no way of knowing if someone is a child. We could end up causing even more misery if we are not careful. We should invite anyone who wants to come to the UK to take dental tests.” Many have the right to come to UK but are stuck due to bureaucracy

Documentation supplied by the Red Cross on the issue of bringing child refugees to the UK features pictures children who appear to be under the age of ten and toddlers.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We can confirm a group of children who left the Calais camp this morning have arrived in the UK.

“This is the start of the process to transfer as many eligible children as possible before the start of the clearance, as the Home Secretary set out in Parliament.

“These vulnerable children, aged between 14 and 17, were transferred to the UK under the care of Home Office staff, with the support of volunteers from specialist NGOs and charities. They will join their families in the UK as quickly as possible over the coming days.”

 

The Home Office said that “essential checks have been made on these young people for their safety and the safety of others” and added: “This means verifying their ages, confirming their identities and eligibility to come to the UK and running security checks.”

Dozens more children are expected to arrive this week after a team of British officials were sent to Calais to help French authorities speed up the transfer of minors ahead of the dismantling of the Jungle.

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Published by CityFella

Big city fella, Born and Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lived in New York (a part time New Yorker) for three years . I have lived in the Sacramento area since 1993. When I first moved here, I hated it. Initially found the city too conservative for my tastes. A great place to raise children however too few options for adults . The city has grown up, there is much to do here. The city suffers from low self esteem in my opinion, locals have few positive words to say about their hometown. visitors and transplants are amazed at what they find here. From, the grand old homes in Alkali Flats, and the huge trees in midtown, there are many surprises in Sacramento. Theater is alive is this area . And finally ,there is a nightlife... In.downtown midtown, for the young and not so young. My Criticism is with local government. There is a shortage of visionaries in city hall. Sacramento has long relied on the state, feds and real estate for revenue. Like many cities in America,Downtown Sacramento was the hub of activity in the area. as the population moved to the suburbs and retail followed. The city has spent millions to revive downtown. Today less than ten thousand people live downtown. No one at city hall could connect the dots. Population-Retail. Business says Sacramento is challenging and many corporations have chosen to set up operations outside the cities limits. There is vision in the burbs. Sacramento has bones, there are many good pieces here, leaders seem unable or unwilling to put those pieces together into. Rant aside, I love it here. From the trees to the rivers. But its the people here that move me. Sacramento is one of the most integrated cities in America. I find I'm welcome everywhere. The spices work in this city of nearly 500,000 and for the most part these spices blend well together. From Ukrainians to Hispanics and a sizable gay community, all the spices seem to work well here. I frequently travel and occasionally I will venture into a city with huge racial borders, where its unsafe to visit after certain hours. I haven't found it here. I cant imagine living in a community where there is one hue or one spice. I love the big trees, Temple Coffee House, the Alhambra Safeway, Zelda's Pizza, Bicyclist in Midtown, The Mother Lode Saloon, Crest Theater, and the Rivers. I could go on and I might. Sacramento is home.

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