We uphold the right to migrate, which may be exercised not only by those fleeing threats to their safety but also by those seeking to build a better life for themselves and their families.
CSAN comprises of 54 member organisations, including independent Catholic charities and diocesan Caritas agencies, many of whom provide support and outreach to asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants. They run a number of community projects and services, alongside campaigning for a more welcoming environment in the UK for those seeking refuge.
There are many actions you can take as an individual, or together with your community. You can contact your diocese for further information on support programmes they offer and how you can get involved.
Below outlined are a few actions you can take and campaigns you can get involved with:
Principle 15. We urge the fulfilment of obligations under international frameworks protecting migrants and refugees, such as the Refugee Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Global Compact on Refugees, and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
Engage your MP:
The UK provides a hostile environment for refugees and migrants, with recent policies and changes to legislation further eroding their fundamental rights and placing the UK in contradiction of its international obligations. There have been many campaigns against the harsh and unfair policies introduced, but one way to ensure a welcoming environment with fair policies that uphold human dignity, is to engage your MP.
We call upon you to engage your MP and ask them about their views on migration, the treatment of people seeking asylum in the UK and the support for refugees. We ask you to raise your concerns regarding unfair policies that fail to recognise the right to asylum and ask that they uphold the human dignity of the vulnerable seeking refuge. Urge your MP to question government and advocate for the fair and kind policies we wish to see.
Principle 23: We encourage policies that give migrants and refugees the right to work, to facilitate their contribution to the common good of our society.
Write to your MP:
One way in which you may engage your MP is to write to them.
We encourage you to write to your MP to highlight issues affecting refugees and migrants and request that they raise these issues in Parliament to affect policy and ensure the human dignity of refugees and migrants is upheld. We encourage you to request their support of a campaign as by speaking up together we are more likely to have an impact.
You can find the contact details of your MP at: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons
You may also find the details of your MP and local councillors at: https://www.writetothem.com/.
This website allows you to select the individual you wish to write to and draft a letter (or copy/paste an existing template) on the website, from where it will be emailed directly to them.
CSAN have drafted a letter template in response to the new Illegal Migration Bill, to promote Love the Stranger and urge MPs to reconsider the Bill whilst advocating for and upholding the human dignity of refugees and migrants:
[Name of your MP]
House of Commons
Dear [name of your MP]
I am writing to you as a concerned Catholic constituent to express my profound concern about the Government’s proposed Illegal Migration Bill. This Bill, if passed, will not only deny people fleeing war and persecution their right to seek safety in the UK and apply for asylum, but will punish them, based on how they came here, not whether they need protection. This would amount to an asylum ban.
The Bill would:
- Remove the right to seek refugee protection in the UK for those who arrive irregularly.
- Breach the UN Refugee Convention, of which the UK is a founding signatory.
- Fail to provide the safe routes we need now.
- Leave thousands of men, women and children in limbo, detained and denied a fair hearing.
On 14 March, the Department for International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, published Love the Stranger: A Catholic Response to Migrants and Refugees. This document sets out a number of key principles, including:
- The dignity of the human person at the root of our response to migrants and refugees.
- The right of a state to control its borders, but not based on economic factors alone: we have a responsibility to the wider world.
- Avoiding the use of immigration detention, arbitrary expulsion and other practices which violate human dignity.
- The need to fulfil our obligations under international frameworks protecting migrants and refugees, such as the Refugee Convention.
We encourage you to engage with your Catholic constituents and our bishops’ document to help to clarify why the teaching of the Catholic Church is incompatible with this Bill.
We call on you to:
- Protect rather than punish refugees by defending their fundamental right to seek asylum.
- Stand up for the UN Refugee Convention and our country’s history as a founding signatory.
- Ensure the government provides alternatives to dangerous journeys, including safe routes.
- Insist on an effective asylum system which is just and compassionate, gives people a fair hearing and reduces the backlog in a fair manner.
We strongly urge the government to reconsider this Bill and instead pursue more humane and workable policy solutions which respect the dignity and rights of migrating people.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing your views on this urgent matter.
You may copy and paste the above text or alternatively, download the letter in Word document format here:
Engage your Council:
In addition to contacting your MP, you may also engage your councillors and advocate at the local level.
The Migrant Champions Network is a new project supported by JCWI to support local councillors to champion the rights of migrants in their local areas and beyond, to better equip them to support migrants within their communities.
Launched officially on February 23 2023, you can check if your council has a Migrant Champion and if not, call upon them to appoint a councillor as a Migrant Champion to advocate for and on behalf of the refugees and migrants in your community: https://migrantchampionsnetwork.org/find-a-migrant-champion
Image: The Good Samaritan