Commenting in the light of the Evangelical Alliance's highlighting of the impact of new UK immigration rules on Christians, the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia has reiterated that attention is needed to the injustice and humanity of the system as a whole, in addition to specific cases.
In his recent speech at the Convention on Modern Liberty, Vaughan Jones, a URC minister and CEO of the London-wide agency Praxis, which works in solidarity with displaced people regardless of creed, said: "There are two deep rooted threads within most religious traditions. One is concern for the stranger in our midst, the 'other' who is worthy of respect; and the second is the religious requirement to care for our brother and sister in need."
Jones, who is an Ekklesia associate, added: "It is by no means uncommon for a local church congregation to find itself defending a member facing deportation. Most pastorally engaged clergy in urban contexts will be dealing with immigration issues of one kind or another."
He commented: "The governments of the western world have consistently refused to sign the International Convention on the rights of Migrants and their Families.
"It is not considered inappropriate to imprison children in the UK detention centres for considerably longer than 42 days when neither they nor their parents have committed crimes. It is not considered an imposition on freedom to deny the right to income, recourse to public funds. It is not considered an imposition on liberty to remove their access to legal representation.
"So does the migrant have a human right? Are migrants fully human? The answer as it currently appears from government is, 'unfortunately they are human, but we will do everything we possibly can to stop them from being so'.”
See also: Vaughan Jones,'Humanity and justice is "modern liberty" for Christians' (http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/8859), 'The asylum debate has lost its humanity' (http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/8059) and 'Are immigration controls moral?' (http://ekklesia.co.uk/research/280405immigration)
Ekklesia's coverage of immigration justice issues, nationally and internationally: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/tags/156