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Germany: mgr. Hesse (Hamburg), “Illegal” immigrants, “the State must respect any human dignity”

The archbishop of Hamburg, mgr. Stefan Hesse, in charge of the pastoral service for migrants and refugees at the German Bishops Conference (Dbk), said that “the State can expel illegal immigrants. But it cannot deny them what they need for a dignified life”. The German bishops ask for decent healthcare for “illegal” immigrants too, as pointed out by Hesse during today’s Berlin meeting of the Catholic Forum “Leben in der Illegalität” (Living in illegality), established by Dbk 13 years ago: “their situation is often tragic”, the prelate insisted. It has been estimated that half a million illegal immigrants are in Germany now. Hesse pointed out that illegal immigrants are still pending expulsion, even if they need healthcare and even if they are entitled to receive urgent treatment. This means that many of them are reluctant to see a doctor even if “their life is in danger”. But the State “must respect any human dignity”, said Hesse, who also called politics to take care of illegal immigrants, including pregnant women, who should be given basic healthcare until they give birth. According to Hesse, this should not be left to volunteering initiatives, such as the Malteser medical services for migrants. And while “the State has a duty to lay down the rules on entry and residence”, Hesse pointed out that “however this cannot be solved by disrespecting the personal dignity of prosecuted people”.

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