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'Immoral and inept': Archbishop of York condemns gov immigration policy

by Kelly Valencia

The Archbishop of York has called the government's new immigration policy "immoral and inept" in an interview with The Observer.

For Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, the policy "amounts to cruelty without purpose" and will prevent many "legitimate refugees and victims of modern slavery" from accessing support.

Under the government's new asylum and migration law, all adults arriving in the UK via illegal routes will be detained for 28 days and cannot claim asylum. If it's not feasible to return them to their home country, they will be relocated to a "safe third country" like Rwanda.

Archbishop Stephen said: "The proposals of the Illegal Migration Bill … are clearly unworkable, but will restrict access to support for many legitimate refugees and victims of modern slavery, without even the dignity of having their case heard."

Although many critics have questioned the bill's legality, Home Secretary Suella Braverman is adamant that the plans don't break domestic or international law.

Braverman told the BBC on Wednesday: "We are confident that we are complying with the law, domestic and international."

"But we are also pushing the boundaries and we are testing innovative and novel legal arguments."

Archbishop Stephen said that safe routes to those fleeing their countries should be the right approach to the crisis. He added Christians were "morally bound to find ways of welcoming the stranger and feeding the hungry".

He continued: "This does not mean anything goes, but it does mean everyone counts. Of course, there have to be limits on the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers any one country can take. But this needs to be managed in a just, transparent and humane way. Criminalising the world's most vulnerable people is an immoral and inept way of responding."

The second most senior cleric of the Church of England is the latest figure from the denomination to speak out against the policy.

Earlier this week, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Rev Paul Butler, urged the government not to abandon its "legal and moral responsibilities to some of the world most vulnerable" while the Bishop of Dover, Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin said the policy lacked "human compassion".

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