BY ED WEST
THE CATHOLIC bishop responsible for refugees and migrants has defended Britain’s immigration levels after the former Archbishop of Canterbury said runaway immigration levels were pushing Britain’s infrastructure to the limit and feeding fascism.
Lord Carey put his name to a declaration signed by 20 Lords and MPs calling for a reduction in immigration, and also argued that immigration was driving people towards the British National Party.
But Auxiliary Bishop Patrick Lynch of Southwark, who leads the Catholic Bishops’ Office for Refugee and Migrants policy, said: “As a Christian Church, we have an obligation to ‘welcome the stranger’.” Irish-born Bishop Lynch said: “I think the analysis is superficial. It doesn’t make the distinctions in immigration clear. There are those who seek sanctuary in Britain, those who come from the EU and those who come from other countries through the tier system such as skilled and unskilled workers.” He also said that immigration had stabilised but the Government had a responsibility to manage it. The bishop also questioned whether those who signed the declaration wanted Britain to leave the EU as there was free movement for members of EU countries.
In 2007 there were 600,000 registered immigrants in Britain, although the true figure was believed to be higher. The majority came from within the EU.
The Cross Party Group on Balanced Migration is led by Labour MP Frank Field and the Conservative MP Nicholas Soames. Among the signatories of the declaration, entitled “70 million is Too Many”, were Catholic MPs Michael Ancram and Daniel Kawczynski, the son of Polish immigrants. The signatories declared they were “gravely concerned” about the increase in population.
“We note that the official projections show the population of the UK will increase from 61.4 million in 2008 to exceed 70 million by 2029,” it stated. “Over the next 25 years the population will increase by 10 million, nearly all of the increase being in England. 70 per cent – seven million – will be due to immigration. We believe that immigration on such a scale will have a significant impact on our public services, our quality of life and on the nature of our society.
“We welcome the considerable benefits that immigration has brought to British life. However, we note that over the last decade immigration has reached unprecedented levels. We note also that the latest household projections show that nearly 40 per cent of new households to be formed by 2031 will be the result of immigration, approximately one every five minutes.” They called on the Government to restore the level of immigration to 40,000 a year, the level it was in the early 1990s.
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