Mgr. Alfred Vella said that the Emigrants’ Commission is currently housing 400 immigrants spread between many residences. On RTK’s Newsline, Mgr. Vella explained how it takes €400,000 in donations a year to provide these 400 beds.
The houses are in various locations, such as Balzan where the largest residence is, but he also mentioned eight houses in Valletta and others in Floriana, Imsida, Gwardamanġa, St Julian’s and Santa Venera.
“The Church was the first to start taking care of immigrants”
During the interview, Mgr. Vella mentioned that the Church was the first to start taking care of immigrants. He argued that the Church took the responsibility of helping them first via the Emigrants’ Commission, even before Malta had signed the UN Convention on Refugees.
Mgr. Vella mentioned how, in the mid-90s, the Jesuit Refugee Service was also established.
“This is no Islamic invasion”
Mgr. Vella said that this is not an Islamic invasion and reminded that Christ never said not to help anyone in particular. He added that not all immigrants are Muslim, but their religion and skin colour should change nothing about help being given to a person.
This episode of Newsline also featured television presenter Peppi Azzopardi and speaker for the Alleanza Nazzjonali Malcolm Seychell who discussed the case of Sea-Watch 3 and immigration.
“A Government scheme for Maltese families to home migrants for 6 months” – Peppi Azzopardi
Peppi Azzopardi said that the Government should have a scheme for immigrants to live with Maltese families for six months. While he mentioned that he has himself housed immigrants at his house, one even for a year and a half, he added that the Maltese have a lot to learn from immigrants. Azzopardi said that the Government should also organise a preparation course for Maltese people to be equipped for this experience.
About Sea-Watch 3 and the immigrants stranded on the vessel, Azzopardi argued that if one of them had a million Euro, Malta wouldn’t only have saved him, but gave him and his family passports.
“Salvini’s reasoning reduced deaths in the Mediterranean” – Seychell
Malcolm Seychell from the Alleanza Nazzjonali was also invited on the programme, saying that he agrees with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s hard line stance on immigration. He said that this led to less deaths in the Mediterranean, because numbers have gone down by 90%.
Regarding the Sea-Watch case, he said that these immigrants should have been sent back to Libya in the secure parts. He asked where the EU’s immigration money is going, if there had to be a call for blanket donations.