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The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, told MPs in a statement on Monday that 200 unaccompanied children had been brought to the UK since 10 October, including 60 girls who were deemed to be at risk of sexual exploitation.
The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) has expressed concern over Home Office figures from 2005, which suggested that 65 per cent of child refugees entering the UK gave false information about their ages, and were found to be adults.
Who’s worse: pro-refugee observers who want to mother the children of Calais, or anti-refugee scaremongers who want to keep them out of Britain? The infantilisers or the criminalisers? Those who view refugees as overgrown infants in need of the tears and care of loving Westerners, or those who see them as potential destabilisers of Britain, strange adults only masquerading as kids so they can come here to do bad? It’s hard to tell. They might be as bad as each other. One thing is clear, though: for all their wordy clashes in the press and on Twitter, both sides in the great child refugee non-debate share something important in common: they see these migrants less as individuals with autonomy and aspirations than as symbols of something or other through which we might make a point about ourselves.
You’re so vain you think this refugee crisis is about you
Both sides in the child-refugee debate are astonishingly self-obsessed.