Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 7 News List

UK’s May names new home secretary

DEPORTATION SCANDAL:Amber Rudd told parliament last week that her ministry did not have deportation targets, but documents showed such goals were in place


British Home Secretary Sajid Javid stands outside the Home Office in London yesterday after being appointed to replace Amber Rudd, who resigned on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday appointed the first ethnic-minority politician to the key post of home secretary, as the government struggled to contain a scandal over the mistreatment of long-term residents from the Caribbean.

Sajid Javid replaces Amber Rudd, who resigned late on Sunday, saying she had “inadvertently” misled lawmakers about whether the government had deportation targets.

The Windrush immigration scandal has dominated headlines in Britain for days and sparked intense criticism of the Conservative government’s tough policies.

The furor began when the Guardian newspaper reported that some people who came to the UK from the Caribbean in the decades after World War II had recently been refused medical care in Britain or threatened with deportation because they could not produce paperwork proving their right to reside in the country.

Immigration is a divisive issue in Britain, with cutting the inflow of migrants a major factor for many voters who in 2016 backed leaving the EU. The government has an oft-stated but long-unmet goal of reducing net immigration below 100,000 people a year, less than half the current level.

Opponents say the government should drop that target.

May is facing opposition calls to take responsibility for the tough immigration policies that started when she was home secretary in 2012.

Those affected belong to the “Windrush generation,” named for the ship Empire Windrush, which in 1948 brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to Britain, which was seeking nurses, railway workers and others to help it rebuild after the devastation of World War II.

They and subsequent Caribbean migrants came from British colonies or ex-colonies and had an automatic right to settle in the UK, but some have been ensnared by tough new laws intended to make Britain a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants.

Some of these legal migrants have been denied housing, jobs or medical treatment because of requirements that employers and doctors check people’s immigration status. Others have been told by the government that they are in Britain illegally and must leave.

Javid, whose parents came from Pakistan, has expressed anger at the treatment of the Windrush generation, telling the Sunday Telegraph: “That could be me.”

In recent weeks Rudd and May have apologized repeatedly to the Windrush generation, saying that all pre-1973 Commonwealth immigrants who do not already have British citizenship will get it and those affected will get compensation.

However, Rudd’s position worsened after she told lawmakers last week that the government did not have targets for deporting people — only for a memo from last year to emerge that mentioned specific targets for “enforced removals.”

Rudd said she did not see the memo, but the Guardian later published a leaked letter she wrote to the prime minister discussing an aim of increasing removals by 10 percent.

In a resignation letter to the prime minister, Rudd said she had “inadvertently” misled lawmakers.

May said she accepted that Rudd had spoken “in good faith” and was sorry to see her resign.

The Windrush scandal is also causing anxiety for the 3 million EU citizens living in Britain who are concerned about their immigration status after the country leaves the EU in March next year. The British government says they will be allowed to stay.

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