Dear European citizens, as leader of Plaid Cymru, I have a message for you all: you are welcome here in Wales. Amid the toxicity of politics, and the further uncertainty caused by this general election, I want to give you my utmost assurance that Wales welcomes you, Wales values you, and Wales wants you to stay here.
Just as you were denied a vote in the referendum of 2016, you are again denied a vote and a voice in this upcoming general election – an election that will decide all our futures. But Plaid Cymru will continue to represent all 80,000 of you who live in Wales. We will continue to fight for you.
I understand that the current application process to apply for settled status is costly, confusing and causing you grief and anxiety. I understand as well that some of you will have family with settled status while other members of your family won't. I understand that the emotional burden of having to make such an application in a time of dreadful uncertainty can at times be too much to bear.
I want to assure you that Plaid Cymru will continue to fight your corner and will resist any attempt to split families apart or deny you your rights – be they your right to access public services here in Wales or your right to a democratic voice.
We will fight for the respect you deserve, continuing to combat the hostile environment that has been created by Brexit and has caused such deep rooted divisions within our society. We will continue to insist that Wales is your country too; you belong here, just like everyone else who lives here.
Europeans, you are our family. You are our siblings, our parents, and our grandparents. You are our neighbours and our colleagues. You are our teachers, our doctors, our nurses. You contribute to the Welsh economy, to our health service, our schools, and to our rich and vibrant culture. You are among the building blocks of our country – you don't just contribute to our communities, you are our communities.
You shouldn't have to go through this gruelling process. You shouldn't have to be thrown into such a state of uncertainty and fear. But where the UK government has let you all down, we will defend your rights to live and work here in Wales. My party and I will fight until your legal status to live and flourish here in Wales is guaranteed automatically – and we will keep going until your rights are fully recognised in law.
Others including the Labour Party say they want to "protect" you rights, but we know the only real way of doing that is for Wales to remain in the EU – which is why we want to secure a Final Say referendum on Brexit, and will campaign for Remain if that ballot is secured.
Whether you've lived here for two months or five decades, it doesn't matter: Wales is your home. You are welcome, you are valued, and you make our country stronger and better just by being here.
Thank you for making Wales your home. We will do everything we can to make sure you can stay here. Because, Wales – it's us.
Adam Price is a member of the Welsh Assembly and leader of Plaid Cymru
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