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Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, has called for a just approach to asylum that has 'people and families at its centre' and recognises the 'diverse and complex factors that shape the journeys of refugees'.

Bishop Paul was speaking after the Home Secretary announced what was described as 'the most significant overhaul of our asylum system in decades'.

Under the new proposals, the way in which people enter the UK will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses and the status they may receive.

Echoing Pope Francis’ call for us to welcome, promote, protect, and integrate refugees, Bishop Paul stated:

'The assistance that we provide to our sisters and brothers fleeing war, poverty, or persecution is a fundamental test of our society.

'A just approach should have people and families at its centre, respecting the unique circumstances and innate human dignity of everyone who seeks sanctuary here.

'Tackling the evils of human trafficking, opening more safe routes to resettlement, and treating those who have arrived by other means with fairness and humanity, are not mutually exclusive endeavours.

'We must recognise the diverse and complex factors that shape the journeys of refugees and welcome all who need our protection.'

Photo: Bishop Paul McAleenan in Dover on a visit to volunteers working with refugees (Mazur/