Bishop urges UK and France to address migrant channel crossings

Bishop Paul McAleenan

Bishop Paul McAleenan

Source: Vatican News/CCN

In April 2020, the known number of migrants who cross the Channel from France was over 400 - the highest monthly record ever recorded. The total number of migrants recorded to have cross into the UK in the first four months of 2020 was 864.

The UK's Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Paul McAleenan, this week has called on the British and French governments to collaborate in order to eliminate the underlying reasons that see many migrants risking their lives in an attempt to cross the English Channel to get to Britain.

Recently, the Home Secretary Priti Patel met with her French counterpart, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, to discuss ways to tackle illegally-facilitated Channel crossings by small boats. As a result, both Minister's signed a Declaration of Intent. The document agreed that a Franco-British Operational Research Unit would target the network of criminal gangs behind migrant smuggling.

Bishop McAleenan said in his message: "Their focus must be in determining why so many choose to flee their home country and use their influence to eradicate the underlying reasons why these same people are willing to risk their lives in the open sea."

Bishop McAleenan also underlined that the protection of the vulnerable must be a priority. "Surely two countries which pride themselves on being progressive and enlightened will see that the welfare of those who are destitute is vital. Protection of people should be foremost in their thinking."

Tags: Calais, Refugees, Migrants, Bishop Paul McAleenan, Priti Patel, Gérald Darmanin, Channel

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