Members of the House of Lords in the U.K. have voted to accept 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees from Europe.
Christian Today reports that the House of Lords voted 306 to 204 in favor of an amendment to the Immigration Bill which would require the government to welcome the additional children refugees from Europe into Britain.
The government had already agreed to accept refugees that they deemed most vulnerable, from camps in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, but they will now be accepting child refugees from Europe.
Those in favor of welcoming the refugees argued that doing so would protect them from exploitation, human trafficking, and other kinds of abuse.
The Labour Party’s Lord Dubs came over to Britain as a child refugee during the Nazi takeover of Germany. He related to the plight of the child refugees:
"I would like other children who are in a desperate situation to be offered safety in this country and be given the same opportunities that I had," he said.
Others, including religious leaders, praised the House of Lords’ decision.
Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, who also serves in the House of Lords, called the amendment welcoming the children a “small but beautiful thing we can do.”
Tim Farron, a Christian who is leader of the Liberal Democrats, also expressed support for the amendment.
"The Government must stop ignoring the British people and the thousands of orphaned children languishing across Europe," he said.
Some, however, say that welcoming more refugees will encourage more to make dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean which could imperil their lives.
“I question whether it [the amendment] identifies, or provides help, for the right people. We believe we should not be doing anything that encourages one child to make that perilous journey,” stated government home office minister Lord Bates.
The Immigration Bill with its amendment will now go to the House of Commons for approval.
Publication date: March 22, 2016