The Archbishop of Canterbury has described the Illegal Immigration Bill as "isolationist, morally unacceptable and politically impractical".
Speaking in the House of Lords, Most Rev Justin Welby said the Bill “fails utterly” to stop migrants arriving in small boats and has “no sense at all of the long term and the global nature of the challenge that the world faces”.
“[The bill] is isolationist. It is morally unacceptable and politically impractical to let the poorest countries deal with it alone and cut our international aid,” he said.
“This is an attempt at a short-term fix. It risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad, let alone the interests of those in need of protection or the nations who together face this challenge.”
As the bill had its second reading in the House of Lords, peers proposed several amendments, such as calling for a more robust pledge to establish secure and legal pathways for refugees escaping conflict-ridden nations like Sudan.
For the Church of England cleric, the bill needs to include “long term, globally co-ordinated solutions” and a plan for combatting traffickers.
He said he plans to table amendments to the bill at committee stage.
Archbishop Justin concluded: “As one might expect from these benches, in the New Testament in Matthew chapter 25, Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger. That call has been part of the history and culture in this country for centuries, and was part of the drive for the Modern Slavery Act. I urge the government to reconsider much of the bill, which fails to live up to our history, our moral responsibility, and our political and international interests.”