A police officer has rescued two children aged three and four from Iraq wandering along the M62 in northern England.
In the early hours of yesterday morning the two children were found with their parents in a service station car park after they arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry.
Tonight we attended to a report of 2 adults and a child walking towards the #M62 from the services. On arrival we found a family from Iraq. 2 children aged 3 and 4 and their parents looking lost in the carpark. They had all arrived in a lorry. All taken to safety. #heartbreaking pic.twitter.com/NLcbHSGcJn
— Motorway Martin (@WYP_PCWILLIS) October 2, 2019
Last year police reported a rise in the number of refugees being left at service stations after completing the journey to the UK, mainly from Iran and Iraq.
On average one young person a month was being picked up at motorway services in Cheshire, a county also in the north of England.
In 2017 368 Iraqi nationals were granted asylum in the UK at the initial decision stage, just 20 per cent of the 1,844 Iraqi applicants that year.
Iraqis were one of the top three nationalities seeking asylum in the UK last year.
Iraq has witnessed severe violence over the past years as a result of the 2003 Iraq invasion and the subsequent expansion of Daesh, yet the UK has never had a sustained resettlement programme for Iraqis.
Instead, authorities make concerted efforts to prevent their arrival, with Home Secretary Priti Patel claiming the UK was “doing more than our fair share” for refugees whilst voting against allowing lone Syrian refugee children to be allowed into the UK.
Patel has previously voted against banning the detention of pregnant women in immigration jails and in July vowed to push through a radical rewrite of Britain’s immigration system to keep terrorists out of the UK and “make Britain the greatest country on earth.”
In September a petition to keep reuniting children with their families circulated after the Home Office announced it was preparing to end the system of family reunification for asylum-seeking children if Britain left the EU without a deal.
But as the government takes harsher measures to stem the flow of refugees, rights organisations have warned that refugees would just resort to more dangerous methods to enter the country including on the back of lorries and attempting the Channel crossing between France and Britain.
In August this year alone 32 people, including one child from Iraq, were rescued from a boat attempting the crossing. In the first six months of 2019 some 1,000 people crossed the 22-mile waterway.
In August the body of an Iraqi refugee was found washed up on a wind farm off the Belgian coast wearing a makeshift jacket fashioned from plastic bottles.