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Catholics urged to oppose Immigration Bill on moral grounds

20 June 2023

CAFOD is making a landmark intervention on domestic policy due to concerns over the government’s language and proposed treatment of people seeking safety and fleeing persecution.

Citing Pope Francis, who has been a ferocious advocate of migrants and refugees, CAFOD has urged its supporters to write to their MPs to oppose to Bill by highlighting his call for the need to show “maximum respect for the dignity of each migrant” and to “build bridges and not walls” as well as “expanded channels for a safe and regular migration.”

In a message to supporters, CAFOD said “instead of showing respect and dignity, the UK government is trying to make the situation for people seeking safety even worse”.

The charity adds that the Illegal Immigration Bill, which is currently going through parliament, will “effectively shut the door” on the vast majority of people needing to claim asylum.

The e-action has been sent to thousands of CAFOD’s supporters, which includes an email to their local MP calling them to oppose the Bill.

Aisha Dodwell, CAFOD’s head of campaigns, said:

“If passed, this inhumane legislation will be a stain on the country’s reputation. People fleeing conflict and persecution are dying in their thousands as they try to find safety for themselves and their families. Yet, instead of recognising the dire situation these people are in, the UK government is seemingly doing everything it can to make their lives even harder.

“Pope Francis has urged world leaders to build bridges not walls and to welcome, protect and integrate people without distinction.

“But the Illegal Immigration Bill represents everything Pope Francis asks us not to be, which is why we are urging Catholics to speak out against the Bill and show we are a country that welcomes people who need our help.”

The suggested text to MPs states that “as a Catholic, I believe we have a duty to love the stranger and stand up for migrants who are in need” while referencing Pope Francis firm message on the need to welcome people seeking safety.

Owing to the size of CAFOD and its supporter base it is expected that MPs in the majority of constituencies in England and Wales will begin receiving these messages asking them to oppose the Bill.

As an international development agency, CAFOD’s focus tends to be on overseas projects rather than legislation which focuses on domestic issues. However, as a result of the calls from Pope Francis on the world to speak out for refugees and migrants CAFOD say they felt compelled to speak out on this issue.

CAFOD, through its work overseas, supports people who have fled their homeland because of conflict, persecution, poverty and climate change. This includes people who have been displaced by the recent conflict in Sudan, with CAFOD supporting displaced Sudanese people in South Sudan.

The charity also supports, via its partner the Jesuit Refugee Service Romania, Ukrainian refugees who are in Romania.

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