The Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Paul McAleenan, has commented on the government’s Illegal Migration Bill:

Everyone who makes a dangerous journey across the Channel to build a better life here has a name, a face, and a story.

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.

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. Establishing more safe routes, and genuinely understanding people’s individual circumstances are essential to meeting these.

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.

This statement is reproduced from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales website and was originally published on Thursday 9 March 2023.