Why should a former Church of England leader like myself intervene now? After all, the Christian faith emphasizes the need to welcome the stranger. Jesus and his family were themselves refugees fleeing to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. The Church has rightly and repeatedly given sanctuary to many genuine asylum-seekers over the years. This compassionate Christian tradition has contributed to the British reputation for tolerance and a very proud history of welcoming successive waves of immigrants.
We have successfully integrated many communities from the Commonwealth.But there comes a point when we have to reconsider policy and, without backing away from a commitment to those who need asylum, find ways to limit the scale of immigration which is disturbing our way of life.
The stark fact is that our proud heritage of welcoming strangers is threatened by the breakdown of our border control during the past 15 years. Net migration was allowed to increase from 50,000 a year in 1997 to a record level of 250,000 in 2010. The growth in population during the last ten years was the largest recorded since the very first census in 1801.
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