Wel­com­ing refugees

The Sunday Telegraph - - Letters To The Editor -

SIR – As rep­re­sen­ta­tives of faith com­mu­ni­ties, we are dis­mayed by the cur­rent de­bate around im­mi­gra­tion. The long-awaited Im­mi­gra­tion White Pa­per is mis­guided and dis­jointed, the promised en­gage­ment un­clear, and the Im­mi­gra­tion and So­cial Se­cu­rity Co-or­di­na­tion Bill a missed op­por­tu­nity.

Ur­gent ac­tion is needed to cre­ate a more hu­mane sys­tem. Refugee fam­i­lies must be kept to­gether, and close fam­ily mem­bers al­lowed to join their chil­dren in Bri­tain. The right to work af­ter six months should be ex­tended to all peo­ple seek­ing asy­lum. There must be a time limit on im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion, an end to the de­ten­tion of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple and a gen­uine dis­cus­sion about the of­ten im­pos­si­ble stan­dards of proof re­quired. The first re­ac­tion to those ar­riv­ing in boats should not be to dis­be­lieve their sto­ries.

To­day is Epiphany, the 12th day of Christ­mas; the story of the flight of the Holy Fam­ily echoes the plight of refugees around the world. We say to the Gov­ern­ment: let us help you trans­form the hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment, not into a com­pli­ant en­vi­ron­ment, but into a cul­ture of sanc­tu­ary. Rt Rev Jonathan Clark

Bishop of Croy­don Most Rev John Davies Arch­bishop of Wales Rt Rev Richard Jack­son Bishop of Lewes Kathy Mo­han CEO, Hous­ing Jus­tice Paul Parker Record­ing Clerk, Quak­ers in Bri­tain Rt Rev Joanna Pen­berthy Bishop of St Davids Most Rev Mark Strange Bishop of Mo­ray, Ross and Caith­ness, and Primus of the Scot­tish Epis­co­pal Church and 11 oth­ers; see tele­graph.co.uk

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