CSAN Update on the Illegal Migration Bill: 18 July 2023

We at Caritas Social Action Network are deeply concerned that the Illegal Migration Bill will now become law after a series of votes in the House of Lords did not succeed in securing modern slavery protections or limits to the detention of children.

In our previous statement, in March 2023, we urged the Catholic community to speak out against this “cruel and unworkable Bill which is an affront to human dignity and a breach of our responsibilities to the global common good and our obligations under international law.”

Earlier this year, the Department for International Affairs of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales published Love the Stranger, a Catholic response to refugees and migrants. You can find the document in full at: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/love-the-stranger/.

Following this, CSAN published a Call to Action, with suggestions of how the Catholic community might respond practically to the plight of refugees and migrants. You will find all the sections of the document at: https://www.csan.org.uk/love-the-stranger-call-to-action/.

Bishop Paul McAleenan, responding to the news that the Bill would now become law, said, “This legislation stands at odds with the teaching of the Church on welcoming protecting, promoting and integrating refugees.”

Bishop Terry Drainey, the Chair of Caritas Social Action Network, said, “we call upon the Catholic community to speak out against this cruel Bill and write to their MPs urging them to work to expand safe routes for those seeking asylum.”

You can contact your MP here: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP

Please write to them to express your opposition to the Illegal Migration Bill which is at odds with the teaching of the Catholic Church and urge them to work for more humane and workable policy solutions which respect the dignity and rights of migrating people.

Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough

Chair of CSAN

Raymond Friel OBE