The UK Border Agency sent back over 300 children who sought asylum in the UK since 2004. The children were deported to their first port of entry into the EU as unaccompanied minors. There are also plans to deport children back to their own countries, even if they originally come from distinctly unstable countries like Afghanistan.
According to the Dublin Regulation the UK Border Agency is acting legally when it deports children; but is it acting sensibly? The following questions come to mind.
Is unaccompanied deportation in the benefit of the child?
What psychological effect will such treatment have on the child?
Will the child be safe upon reaching the first point of entry into the EU?
It is understandable that legislation has to be set in place to avoid an endless “pass the parcel” of refugees within the EU. I agree with Melissa Perring, programme manager of the Children’s Society when she says that this legislation should not be applied to children asylum seekers. Whether the legislation is applicable or not does not make the children go away - they are here and we should treat them with compassion, decency and fairness.