Debate In UK Rages Over Taking Refugees From One Of World’s Worst Refugee Camps

CREDIT: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

French riot police officers walk in the Calais migrant camp, northern France Thursday, Jan.21, 2016.

The United Kingdom is debating whether it should accept a number of refugees and asylum seekers planted in a camp on the northern French coast.

In the leftist Labour Party, leader Jeremy Corbyn said that migrants in Calais, a refugee camp regularly referred to as “the Jungle,” with family in Britain should be given the chance to immigrate.

“It’s a very strange magnet of desperation, a fetid swamp with foul water, and people living in tents in the middle of winter shows the level of desperation – we’re talking 3,000 people,” Corbyn said according to British daily the Telegraph. “It’s not very many.”

Refugees in Calais come from many different countries. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ representative in France, Philippe Leclerc, told the BBC most of the migrants are fleeing conflicts in countries like Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, and Afghanistan. Many also come from Iran, Albania, Pakistan, and other countries.

Prime Minister and Conservative party leader David Cameron is currently considering proposals that would see Britain also take in around 3,000 children residing in Calais.

“It would see Britain accept children from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan who have arrived in Europe unaccompanied,” the Financial Times reported. “Child protection experts fear that unless they are quickly rehoused they could be at risk from people traffickers.”

In September 2015, the U.K. pledged to accept 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020, but the Labour party criticized the plan, saying 4,000 a year is not enough.

A similar argument is brewing in the United States, though refugee resettlement opponents have taken more extreme stances. Shortly after the Paris attacks in November, Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said all resettlement of Syrians should be halted — including the youngest and most vulnerable. “I don’t think orphans under five… should be admitted into the United States at this point,” he told radio host Hugh Hewitt.