A Lichfield City of Sanctuary sign

People in Lichfield and Burntwood are being urged to show their support for refugees as part of a national campaign.

Lichfield Quakers with the support of Lichfield City of Sanctuary will be hosting an event outside the Guildhall.

Home-made orange hearts will be held up in solidarity with other groups across the country.

It comes as a Parliament processes a new Bill on immigration which the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants says “represents a fundamental challenge to the principle of refugee protection in the UK”.

A spokesperson for Lichfield City of Sanctuary said:

“We live in an open-hearted place where all are welcomed and treated with respect and understanding. We support all people who face discrimination or exclusion.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill currently going through parliament represents the biggest legal assault on international refugee law ever seen in the UK.

“The Bill seeks to penalise those who arrive by irregular means in the UK to claim asylum, ignores the realities of why people have to flee and seek sanctuary and does not address any of the problems it purports to resolve.”

Lichfield City of Sanctuary spokesperson

The event will take place at 11am on 23rd October, with the group keen for residents to show the strength of feeling on the issue.

“Our Home Secretary seems to think that doubling down on punishing and destructive policies, like all of those set out in this Bill, is what the public want – but new polling suggests otherwise.

“People want smart, common sense policies that show kindness and help people to rebuild their lives – policies like lifting the ban on work for people seeking asylum.

We have known for a long time that banning people seeking asylum from working is not just nonsensical, but harmful to everyone involved.

“Of course, it takes the toughest toll on people seeking asylum, who are often left isolated, unable to support themselves or their families, and living well below the poverty line on just £5.66 per day.

“Lifting the ban would bring people out of these desperate situations while generating around £181million every year for the Government in taxes and savings. 

In spite of all this, the Government refuses to see sense on the issue.”

Lichfield City of Sanctuary spokesperson

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  1. The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: “Our communities can be greatly enriched by people from across the world who are fleeing persecution and hardship in their own lands. For Lichfield to aim to become a City of Sanctuary is to state boldly that we want this city and its surrounding district to be open to all and to offer a place of hope and a warm welcome to all those who need it. Like many others, I am greatly concerned by the potential for the current provisions in the Nationality & Borders Bill to have the opposite effect; there is a real danger that they will increase the hardship of those who need sanctuary the most.”

  2. Thank you to Lichfield Quakers and Lichfield City of Sanctuary for giving residents the opportunity to show their support for refugees. And thank you to the Bishop of Lichfield for also speaking up on this important issue.

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