The Government, amid all the noise and haste about Brexit, has quietly recinded it’s agreement known as the Dubs Amendment, to accept 3,000 unaccompanied migrant children to the UK.
These are children who are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, the reports on the BBC and others say.
What that means is that there are 3000 children without mothers, fathers, or any adults to look after them. Eight, nine, ten year olds, four and five year olds, who are in danger of being sold and made to have sex for the profit of others.
3,000 children that we agreed to take, and now we’re not taking them into our country, because “we don’t have the resources”.
The fact that the government tried to do this quietly is iniquitous. The fact that it’s even possible is shameful.
Do the government really think it’s impossible to house 3,000 children? Does the government really think there are not 3,000 rooms in houses for children who have no parents?
I have heard the counter-arguemnt – that parents are sending their children out a lone because they think they have more chance of a better life that way – so allowing unaccompanied children means that this encourages the parents to abandon them.
The solution to that isn’t to stop unaccompanied children – it’s to start allowing accompanied ones. Can you imagine what sort of life it must be, that allowing your child to walk or sail hundreds of miles without you is a better option?
There has in the last year or so been a definitive “fin de siecle” feeling about the west. Brexit, Trump, the rise of Le Pen, the rise of intolerance, politicians who shamelessly lie, leaders whose bombast is more important than their integrity. But if anything signals a true end to the societies we have known and valued for the last century or so, it is this. When compassion is so thin that we refuse to help children – that is a society which doesn’t deserve to thrive.
St Paul wrote “be anxious for nothing – but in everythign with prayer and supplication and thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God – and the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds through jesus Christ”. Whether you believe in God or not, there’s a central truth in that. Anxiety prevents us from being generous. And we are a very anxious society at the moment. That is not related to fact – we are richer, less prone to illness, less a victim of crime, than we have ever been. It is related to how we feel.
A healthy society is one where we are not too anxious to be generous. And by that measure, we are not a healthy society.