.- A number of France’s major church leaders, including Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, President of the French Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Bordeaux, have sent a letter to the government expressing concern over the drafting of a bill to reform the country’s immigration law. The bill is scheduled to be debated in parliament.
In the April 22nd letter, the church leaders criticize a project that will implement selective immigration, allowing only the well-qualified and educated.
“The existence of undocumented aliens”, they wrote, “is an undeniable reality that amounts to more than hundreds of thousands people. Can we just offer them to go back to their homelands, by force or by will?” ...The weakest will be brought to desperation.”
“We deem this as both unrealistic from a practical point of view and problematic on a human scale,” they continued. “We therefore regret that this draft only contains measures that would have the effect of restraining the possibilities to regularize the situation of these aliens.”
On April 24, another letter was sent to the government by the country’s director of Catholic Charities, Jean-Pierre Richer, who, along with other associations, expressed concern over the issue. That letter was entitled, “We cannot compromise with immigrant’s rights.”
“We find in this text the same spirit of a similar law ten years ago; just a multiplication of obstacles that prevent immigrants to obtain a resident permit,” said Jose Da Silva, director of the national service for the pastoral care of migrants at the French Bishops Conference.