• Child Refugees in Calais

    14 February 2018

    Dear Constituent

    Thank you for contacting me about child refugees in Calais.

    The UK is working very closely with France and other EU Member States to support unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. I should highlight from the outset that children in France are the responsibility of the French Government, and robust safeguarding processes are in place for children to enter into and be supported by the French care system.

    The UK has regular engagement at ministerial and senior official level with the French authorities. There is a strong track record of cooperation with France to manage the situation in Calais and to protect our shared border. The UK supported the humanitarian operation to clear the Calais migrant camp in October 2016, which involved the transfer of more than 750 children to the UK and funding to help provide migrants in Calais, including minors, with suitable facilities elsewhere in France.

    In addition to this, our security and law enforcement teams have worked closely together to tackle organised criminal gangs operating in the region wishing to exploit vulnerable children. I welcome the French Government's decision to deploy more police to the region and to continue to provide alternative accommodation for migrants elsewhere in France.

    France has many of the same international obligations towards those on its territory as the UK, and the French Government has made clear its commitment to provide unaccompanied children with appropriate accommodation and support. It is vital that children who are in Calais claim asylum or otherwise seek support from the French authorities rather than risking their lives by attempting to enter the UK illegally.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Mel Stride

    MP for Central Devon

    Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General