Justice & Peace

Illegal Migration Bill

The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle’s Justice & Peace Coordinating Council has expressed strong opposition to the HM Gov’s recent Illegal Migration Bill, introduced in the House of Commons on 7 March 2023. The Council, alongside Catholic charities such as the Bishop’s Conference for England and Wales, the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and more, contends that the bill violates human dignity and international law.

The Illegal Migration Bill seeks to halt illegal migration into the UK by eliminating incentives for hazardous small boat crossings, expediting the removal of individuals without the right to be in the UK, and cracking down on the exploitation of modern slavery protections. Additionally, the government pledges to resettle a specific number of vulnerable refugees in the UK every year.

Opponents of the bill advocate for protecting refugees’ rights to seek asylum, upholding the UN Refugee Convention, providing safe routes to prevent dangerous journeys, and promoting a just and compassionate asylum system that fairly reduces the backlog.

Update:

The Government passed the Illegal Migration Bill on 17 July 2023 and the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle’s Justice & Peace Co-ordinating Council has issued a statement on it’s passing. You can read it here.

Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search
of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger,
exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s
resources which are meant to be equitably shared
by all. Don’t we all want a better, more decent and
prosperous life to share with our loved ones?

Pope Francis Message of the Holy Father for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, January 17, 2016 - https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/resources-by-theme/quotes-from-pope-francis-on-immigration.pdf

A Client's Story

Azad Hasan is the Project Coordinator for the Justice & Peace Refugee Project in Newcastle. He recently met and spoke to some clients of the Project, this is their story:

I met with some clients who are attending our English lessons, four young male clients. Ahmed (pseudonym) expressed the heinous and dangerous journey he took to arrive to the UK. He said’ ’If home was safe place I wouldn’t take dangerous route overland to Libya. From Libya I cross the Mediterranean to Italy and then all the way to France and UK.’’ Migration as Ahmed described ‘’was not a choice’’, but the ‘‘only choice.’’

Hussein, Ahmed’s friend, agreed with Ahmed and added that the public ‘‘must know the reasons why we end up here.’’ Hussein rejected allegations published on mainstream media that asylum seekers are invaders. He instead demonstrated his ability to ‘‘contribute to the society and be part of it.’’ As his ‘‘country forced him to leave’’.

News

Love the Stranger‘ is a new publication that presents a Catholic response to migrants and refugees. It places the human being at the heart of our pastoral outreach, looking beyond statistics and policies to the person – each with a name, a face and a story.

Download or view the publication here.

Bishop Paul McAleenan is the Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Here he talks about the key issues. Watch the introductory video below.

Further Reading

Resources

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