Christian priests joined trade union activists in London today for a rally that called for the issuance of two-year work permits to all illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for at least four years. According to the organisers of the rally, 300,000 people would be covered by the scheme (out of an estimated total of 570,000-870,000 illegal immigrants currently in the country).
The British government is strongly against the idea of the temporary work permits.
Earlier, a mass was held at the Westminster Cathedral to pray for illegal immigrants. Addressing the rally, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, said, "Our government and the governments all over the world must treat migrant workers with justice and with dignity" (BBC).
Fine sentiments, but won't this sort of plan, if it is actually implemented, simply encourage a flood of new illegal immigration? How do you deal justly with existing illegal immigrants, who face difficult living conditions because of their lack of work permits, without inviting in many others who would want to gain the same rights through the back door?