Top British Catholic pushes back against UK politicians' fear-mongering on immigration

The Associated Press

Cardinal-designate Archbishop Vincent Nichols, talks to members of the media during a news conference, in central London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. The Archbishop will be made a Cardinal by Pope Francis at the forthcoming consistory at the Vatican, in Rome on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Associated Press + More

LONDON (AP) — Britain's top Roman Catholic cleric has criticized U.K. politicians for fear-mongering on immigration issues, saying it is wrong to argue that newcomers are a drain on the economy.

Immigration, a hot-button issue in Britain, got a jolt of attention following the loosening of restrictions on migrants from Bulgaria and Romania earlier this year, a move some warned would send Eastern Europeans flooding into Britain.

The Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, said Britons should acknowledge immigrants' positive contribution "to our well-being and economy. "

The archbishop, who is to be made a cardinal by Pope Francis in Rome this weekend, said Tuesday that "leaders ought to appeal to something more normal and more substantial than fear."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.