Twelve bishops at the increasingly woke Church of England have penned an open letter to the government urging them not to turn back illegal migrant boats coming from safe, EU member-state France, published by the leftist Guardian.
The 12 senior clergymen, who described themselves as “bishops within the Church of England with a particular oversight of asylum and refugee issues” — a focus that comes amid the institution currently experiencing a collapse in church attendance and belief — said they were “deeply concerned about the government’s approach to migrant crossings of the Channel.”
The Bishop of Bristol, Bishop of Chelmsford, Bishop of Croydon, Bishop of Bradwell, Bishop of Dover, Bishop of Durham, Bishop of Gloucester, Bishop of London, Bishop of Manchester, Bishop of Southwark, Bishop of Wakefield, and the Right Reverend David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop in Europe, claimed that the “new ‘turn back’ policy, which will see boats forcibly returned to France… raises significant moral concerns,” arguing it “starkly increases the risks at sea and endangers the lives of those attempting the crossing.”
The bishops were referring to a supposedly tough new policy of turning migrant boats trying to reach England around at sea in “very limited circumstances”, which border hawks have long argued would actually decrease risks at sea by discouraging people from attempting illegal sea crossings in the first place, as happened in Australia and, while it still had a strong policy against seaborne migrants, Italy.
Migrant Sea Deaths Plunge Thanks to Italy's Salvini Closing Ports https://t.co/mJHEMXZHxx
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 25, 2019
The woke bishops also alleged in their letter that the Nationality and Borders Bill the government is putting before Parliament “would criminalise not only attempts to cross the border irregularly” — i.e. illegally — “nor even simply people-smuggling, but even those who take part in the rescue of boats in distress at sea.”
They claimed that “This would require those who see asylum seekers at risk to choose between ignoring a moral imperative (also established in maritime law) to assist them, or to risk prosecution and imprisonment,” arguing that this was the equivalent to “criminalisation of the Good Samaritan who did not pass by on the other side, and an affront to justice to put the saving of lives under any sort of legal penalty.”
In fact, the bill does not appear to criminalise “the rescue of boats in distress at sea” but merely updates existing, weakly-enforced legislation “against unlawful immigration” to make it an offence to “knowingly” facilitate illegal immigration, where at present it is only an offence to do so “knowings and for gain“.
The government likely has in mind organisations such as the anti-borders NGOs which operate migrant transports in the Mediterranean Sea, providing what they claim a legitimate “rescue” service but which critics complain is effectively a taxi service for illegal immigrants, given their custom of going many nautical miles out of their way to deliver their passengers to European ports, rather than ports in North Africa much, much closer to hand.
Mediterranean taxi service… https://t.co/0tjubTV7Dm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 24, 2017