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Pilgrims want to make Australia home -

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TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Some of last month's pilgrims now say they're refugees. The World Youth Day
participants want to stay in Australia, saying it's not safe to return to their respective homes.
And more pilgrims are expected to join them once their visitors' visas run out.

Philippa McDonald reports.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD, REPORTER: The World Youth Day party is well and truly over, but some guests just
don't want to go home.

TAMARA DOMICELJ, ASYLUM SEEKERS CENTRE: What they are telling us is they are here, they're afraid,
they can't go home and need help.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD: The Sydney based asylum seeker centre has been helping at least 18 pilgrims stay
permanently.

TAMARA DOMICELJ: There are quite a lot of African countries in amongst them. Zimbabwe. Cameroon.
Burundi.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD: The Catholic Church says it was responsible for the World Youth Day, not the
fate of the pilgrims once it ended.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL, ARCHBISHOP OF SYDNEY: I don't know where they are from, I don't know how many
they are, I don't really know.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD: Several agencies are dealing with pilgrims applying to stay, whilst still on
three month visitor visas. The Catholic charity St Vincent de has Paul confirmed "In accordance
with our mission the St Vincent de Paul Society of NSW is currently assisting a number of asylum
seekers, a small percentage of whom are World Youth Day pilgrims."

GEORGE PELL: I'm sympathetic to them as individuals, but like all of us, they have to follow the
laws of Australia.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD: The ABC has spoken to two World Youth Day pilgrims who are seeking asylum. They
want to remain anonymous. They say they are broke and living in a backpackers' hostel. The
Immigration Department won't reveal the number of pilgrims that have applied to stay: "If an
application is made it would be assessed on its merit like any other claim for protection."

TAMARA DOMICELJ: We are hearing that people have actually been sleeping out, literally sleeping
out.

PHILIPPA MCDONALD: Sydney's Asylum Seekers Centre is worried pilgrims applying for protection visas
are left destitute while their claims are assessed.