A Tory MP has called for migrants entering the UK classed as children to be given dental x-rays to prove their age.
Backbencher David T.C Davies told Heat Street he is suspicious about the number of young men who have recently been given an automatic right to join their relatives in Britain simply having told officials they are under the age of 18.
These don't look like "children" to me. I hope British hospitality is not being abused. https://t.co/1CKwsPnfaS
— David Davies MP (@DavidTCDavies) October 17, 2016
It has been widely observed that some of the migrant ‘children’ who have arrived in Britain from the Calais Jungle this week have facial hair and are the height and build of an adult. They are almost always unable to prove their age because they have no birth certificate, leaving Home Office officials to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Mr Davies told Heat Street: “Today I will be tabling questions in parliament asking how many migrant children have undergone dental checks and whether those who wish to come here in future will be subject to dental checks. It would be a way of reassuring the public that the system is not being abused. I know that the Labour MP Liam Byrne suggested mandatory dental checks for migrants back in 2007.”
X-rays are considered a more accurate way of establishing the age of claimants than visual checks. Experts determine an individual’s age by looking at the development of the teeth and jawline.
At the same time, a UK Home Office official was today unable to answer questions from Heat Street about how many migrants claiming to be children have been refused entry to Britain on the basis that their claim to be under 18 is not believed.
The official said that French and British officials from their respective home office departments are in charge of determining the plausibility of each claim.
But some have pointed out that the French have a vested interest in as many as migrants as possible leaving France in order to ease pressure.
UK government guidelines published in 2015 state: “In some instances, applicants will submit reports from dental consultants based on a detailed assessment of dental development. The margin of error in determining age through this process is approximately plus or minus 2 years or less, for 95% of the population …This means there will be cases where such reports should be given considerable weight – for example because the applicant’s claimed age is within the possible range.”
A similar x-ray test can be done on bones, most likely in the hand.
Mr Davies said: “I would like to know whether these tests are being carried out. They ought to be, otherwise the risk is that more and more people who are under the age of, say, 30 might claim to be a child and then insist on entry to the UK. This is a dangerous precedent – particularly if they are in fact adults and are then placed in children’s foster homes with young children.”
He added that, having investigated this issue carefully and visited migrant camps in Calais, Hungary and Greece, he is “puzzled” as to why so few women are trying to get into the UK.
Scores of children living at the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp are expected to arrive in Britain this week. An estimated 180 children living there are thought to have the right to move because they have relatives living in the UK.