May 2008

Strangers into Citizens

zimbabwe vigilThe following is an excerpt of Bishop Thomas McMahon’s homily at the Mass for migrants on May 5th, 2008.  

“Welcoming and hospitality have always been at the heart of the Bible and have been very much the tradition of the United Kingdom. Migrants helped rebuild the United Kingdom following World War II and are continuing toregenerate London and this country. They make an indispensable contribution. We, therefore, have a duty to see that in doing this, migrants are not exploited in any way whatsoever. It is a scandal and totally unacceptable when large numbers of migrants are paid well below the minimum wage. Which is why, I know, all of us… support the ‘living wage’ campaign.

“We must continue to raise our voice for the ‘Strangers into Citizens’ campaign. It calls for a one-off regularisation and pathway to ‘citizenship’ on the terms set by the government of the day. The unthinkable alternative is deportation. I find it unspeakable and shaming to read… of hundreds of Zimbabwean refugees, living in Britain, who are facing deportation despite escalating violence from what many now consider to be an illegal and repressive regime. For any government to choose to do nothing about ‘regularisation’ is irresponsible and leaves countless migrants vulnerable to exploitation and living in fear and in limbo. They cannot work; cannot claim benefits; cannot get public housing. I can only describe it as shameful and unjust.

Bishop Thomas

“If it is true that part of the present Government’s ‘come-back’ is to get ‘tough’ on immigration… then they must know that we too will remain resolute.”

To read the entire homily see here.

For more information see Strangers into Citizens.