Immigration by 'outsiders' can raise for those who are already settled in a homeland, very difficult moral and practical issues.
On the one hand living a comparatively civilised way of life in an apparently reasonably well governed country where citizens can more or less get on with leading their lives as they can, is aspired to by most ordinary people yet on the other hand, selfish dictatorships or oligarchies can oppress citizens so much that they feel compelled to try to leave and live more freely elsewhere.
Of course oppressive or dangerous weather conditions or other natural events can also affect people's views as to where to live but generally reasonably fairly governed countries can and do work at overcoming such natural problems.
Taking the UK, people can and do complain about taxation and the priorities of the government of the day. Nonetheless in general even government by political party or parties whose politics are at the opposite end of one's personal spectrum is in the UK not overly restrictive on one's personal way of life. Coalition government here at present, of the kind which has not previously existed in the peacetime since WWII, is not doing too badly though it is far from perfect.
Still the right wing is being kept in check by the direct involvement of the Liberals some of whose own more extreme political flavours are kept in check by those on the right of the coalition. Many are probably surprised and maybe even a little pleased that the UK coalition has continued for as long as it has and that the possibility that it will last a full 5 year term in government, is increasingly looking like a probability.
But how should citizens of the UK be reacting to the large number of people apparently desperate to immigrate and settle here? Very hard to call in my humble opinion. The UK's population has increased enormously in the last 30 years or so and it is said that the country is already too crowded. On the other hand when a child at school a few years back it was astonishing to learn that the whole human population of the world could actually stand together on the Isle of Wight. The number of men women and children has substantially increased since then so maybe the area needed for all mankind to stand up and be counted would now be the whole of say Hampshire.
The reality though is that mankind needs space to live, farm, work and recreate which space in the UK at least, is or seems increasingly scarce. Morally if one state has despotic rulers is another supposedly more 'civilised' state obliged to take in the citizens of the former who try to flee and if so how many? Then how does the civilised state try to discern those who are really fleeing from others? How many immigrants does the civilised state take or should there be no limit?
I have no practical idea as to how these questions should be answered. The academic/moral answer might even be that real refugees or even those in respect of whose standing there is real doubt, should be admitted without limit.
The hypothetical does seem however to have to be tempered by practicalities. I suspect that there is no right answer but what I feel should be occurring is that reasoned moral guidance should be being given by religious leaders about this kind of fundamental question. Currently there are few profound utterances that I can discern - my apologies if I have nor read widely enough to have picked up the learned views of our religious leaders on this fundamental issue - but although there are huge utterances about such matters as gay marriage, the gender of clergy and general human behaviour - profound teachings about immigration morality are noticeable by their absence. True some bishops may make some utterances but what is really required from them (with respect) is real moral guidance if not teaching on this subject. It is easy to say let everyone immigrate if they wish but is that really sufficient for our bishops in C.21?
Pope Francis has recently focused some attention on attempts by some North Africans to emigrate to Southern Europe. I hope that that good man will catalyse further wider reflection and discussion on this very difficult but increasingly these days, apparently fundamental, topic.