KIDS who lived in the Calais jungle launched a legal challenge against Home Secretary Amber Rudd yesterday, claiming she mishandled their asylum cases.
Lawyers representing the children claim the Home Office has failed to bring many of the most vulnerable refugee children to Britain and not given proper written decisions on their refusal.
Of the 36 children’s applications, 28 have reportedly been rejected, with the remaining eight still awaiting the Home Office’s final decision.
In October, the government acted on the Dubs amendment to take in more children from the refugee camp after pressure from the public and Labour peer Lord Alfred Dubs.
The amendment allowed unaccompanied children to be offered safe refuge in Britain. But last month, the Home Office published new guidelines on which children would qualify.
They stipulate that a child must be aged 12 or under, or be at high risk of sexual exploitation, or be aged 15 or under and either of Syrian or Sudanese nationality, or be under 18 and a sibling of someone fitting these criteria.
Lord Dubs, who came to Britain as part of the kindertransport scheme after fleeing from the nazis, said the changes in eligibility were “shocking” and said: “I think they have gone back on their word.
“I think in those new eligibility criteria they have breached both the letter and the spirit of the amendment.”
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has urged the government to fulfil its international obligations and assist refugees at Britain’s borders.
She said: “Our priority must be to protect these children, many of whom have had to live through the very worst conditions and have lost all hope.
“It is morally unacceptable that children are being left in a miserable limbo.”
Last month the Refugee Youth Service warned that a third of the children it was tracking since October, when French authorities forcibly dismantled the Calais camp, had gone missing, prompting grave concerns for their wellbeing.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”