Watch: Welsh minister’s passionate speech in defence of migrants – ‘they’re welcome to make their home here’
Wales Climate Change Minister has issued a passionate defence of migrants, saying that she disagrees with the UK Government’s handling of the issue.
Julie James said that she would not be alive today if it were not for workers from abroad in the NHS, as a doctor from Sri Lanka saved her life when she had breast cancer.
She was responding to a question from journalist David Wood about the impact of climate change on migration to the UK.
“I’m very, very proud that Wales is a nation of sanctuary and that I come from Swansea, which is a city of sanctuary,” she said.
“The contribution of refugees and migrants and asylum seekers from all over the world is absolutely palpable here in Wales. My own family have been migrants so I know what that feels like as well.
“I would say that we would welcome people who want to make their home here in Wales who want to contribute to our economy and help it grow.
“All over Wales, we have businesses who really could do with more people to help them get through to the growth potential they have.
“So I don’t take the same view as the UK Government, I’m afraid. I say that we should welcome people who want to come and make their home with us who want to come and learn our language and be part of our community, and to help us in everything we do.
“I would not be standing here today without an NHS doctor who helped me through my breast cancer and who was from Sri Lanka. So as far as I’m concerned, those people are very welcome to make their home here.”
*This* is how you respond to a press question about the supposed migrant “crisis”.
— Owen Williams 🏴 (@OwsWills) November 7, 2022
Her comments came after Rishi Sunak and Italy’s new far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni discussed “tackling illegal migration” as they met on the sidelines of the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt.
The Prime Minister and Ms Meloni, Italy’s first woman premier, took office within days of each other last month.
Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party leads the country’s first far-right-led government since the Second World War, a coalition that has made reducing immigration a key part of their agenda.
Mr Sunak’s Government is battling to get a grip of the deepening Channel crossings crisis at home and the number of arrivals continues to grow.
According to a Downing Street readout of the meeting, Mr Sunak and Ms Meloni “had a positive discussion on a range of shared issues and priorities, including tackling illegal migration and people-smuggling gangs”.
They also discussed climate change, a Downing Street spokesman said.
“Reflecting on the UN climate summit, they noted the importance of addressing climate change for our long-term security and prosperity.
“The Prime Minister highlighted the shock to global energy and food prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the leaders agreed to continue to take strong action to support Ukraine and hold Russia to account for its actions.
“The Prime Minister and prime minister Meloni welcomed the opportunity to meet at the start of their respective premierships and looked forward to working closely together, building on the strong partnership between the UK and Italy.”
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