Leaders of Britain's faiths and trade unions will join politicians, musicians, actors and leading NGOs in Trafalgar Square today to call for a 'pathway into citizenship' for many of the 500,000-odd 'illegal' immigrants in the UK. Thousands of Union Jack-waving migrants and their supporters will gather in the heart of London in what may be the largest gathering of its kind in British history. The day will begin with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, celebrating a multilingual, colourful Mass for Migrant Workers at Westminster Cathedral. The Cardinal will lead the 'Strangers into Citizens' walk to the Square in the company of Dr Bari, president of the Muslim Council of Britain, as well as Jack Dromey, deputy general-secretary of the TGWU, the Labour MP Jon Cruddas and Baroness Shirley Williams. The Strangers into Citizens campaign is calling for visa overstayers and refused asylum-seekers who have been in the UK for four years or more to be admitted to citizenship via a two-year work permit scheme. The proposal, which is backed by the Immigration Advisory Service and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants among others, is modelled on similar schemes in the EU. The campaign has the backing of the Mayor of London, the Anglican Bishop of Southwark and at least 37 MPs who have backed a 'Strangers into Citizens' Early- Day motion. The laying of the EDM follows an independent ORB poll showing two-thirds of British people support the idea of long-term migrants who work and pay taxes being allowed to remain legally. Source: TELCO
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