Bishop Patrick Lynch responds to the Home Office ‘Go home or face arrest’ mobile billboard campaign targeting undocumented migrants in seven London Boroughs:
“‘Go home or face arrest’ – let’s not mince our words. This mobile billboard campaign is a very inappropriate way to discourage illegal immigrants from staying in the UK, not least because the message that is often received is that all immigrants and foreigners are unwelcome in the UK.
“Ten years ago most illegal immigrants were actually failed asylum seekers. While much of the backlog of cases has now been dealt with, there are some families – including children who have been born here – and individuals still in this situation. It was with these people in mind that many people supported the idea of an amnesty. These cases need to be dealt with compassionately, especially when there are children involved.
“Nowadays, the vast number of illegal immigrants are people who overstay the terms of their visas, especially students. With over 250,000 overseas students coming to UK educational institutions every year, the best way to reduce overstaying and the number of illegal immigrants is to work closely with the various sponsoring bodies, especially the educational institutions and insist that they are more robust in their procedures.”
Bishop Patrick Lynch
Bishop for Migration
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales