There will be changes to our immigration system as a result of Brexit, but it is important to recognise that refugees are not migrants. Brexit must not be used as an excuse to renege on our legal and moral obligations to refugees.
The government must commit to ensuring that Brexit does not lead to a loss of rights for refugees, and we continue to meet our obligations under the Dublin regulation to reunite refugees with family members in the UK. An amendment has been tabled to the government’s EU Withdrawal Bill seeking to ensure that the family reunion aspects of the Dublin regulation continue to apply in the UK after Brexit.
We could also do more to help unaccompanied child refugees in Europe by fully implementing and restoring the Dubs scheme. I am very disappointed that the government ended the Dubs scheme after resettling far fewer unaccompanied children than anticipated. We know that unaccompanied child migrants are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse, and I believe the government should restore the Dubs scheme and accept some of the most vulnerable children in the world.
The manifesto I stood on at the General Election in June 2017 pledged to produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis.
The government intends to publish more details on its plans for immigration policy after Brexit shortly and I hope that it will use this as an opportunity to provide more clarity on its policy towards refugees after Brexit too.
I will continue to follow this issue very carefully.