The Archbishop of York has blamed the rise in popularity of anti-immigration parties on a perceived failure to support the "indigenous population".
Many do not realise the importance of immigration, says Dr Sentamu
Dr John Sentamu claimed some local government policies have led to the impression that migrants were being favoured over people of British origin.
He acknowledged this was often only "superficially" the case and said the issue was "very complicated".
Dr Sentamu is the Church of England's first black Archbishop.
"Some local politics has not been very good at actually supporting the indigenous population, that must be acknowledged," he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.
"If you go in some areas that I've worked in, it looks sometimes from the outside that what has actually gone on is migrants sometimes have appeared to be getting the things which the indigenous population is not getting.
"Superficially that may be the case, but again I want to encourage people: do not simply look outwardly what is going on in your area. Things are very complicated."
He also issued a response to those who claimed that Britain would be a much better place without immigrants.
"They actually don't realise that at the end of the Second World War, for example, the British government invited people from the Caribbean because they could not carry out their bus driving, their work in hospitals, their cleaning jobs.
"People came here in order to actually help this great nation," he added.
Dr Sentamu has previously urged voters to shun parties seeking to restrict immigration to Britain.
He said organisations such as the British National Party - which doubled the number of councillors it has in England in last week's local elections - espoused the "politics of fear".
The BNP rejected his earlier comments and said that Christian clergy should worry about filling churches instead.