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United Kingdom: mgr. McAleenan (Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales), “the new legislation treats migrants as a problem, not as brothers”

“While we all wish to end dangerous Channel crossings, this new legislation treats migrants and refugees as a problem to be solved rather than brothers and sisters towards whom we have responsibilities”. With these words, bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Catholic Bishop for Migrants and Refugees of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, criticised the new, controversial legislation that has been enforced this week by the British Government to stop small boats reaching the British coasts from France. A law considered unacceptable by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that prevents people illegally coming to the United Kingdom from seeking asylum, that prevents such people from entering the country forever, and prescribes that they be expelled. “People are driven from their homes by poverty, conflict, persecution, natural disasters, or other factors that prevent their flourishing. Many have links to the UK or family members already living here. Yet, far too often, there are no safe routes open to them”, bishop McAleenan wrote on in his release. “Establishing more safe routes, and genuinely understanding people’s individual circumstances are essential to meeting these people. As Christians we call for the human person, made in the image and likeness of God, to be put at the heart of public policy”, he ended.

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