April 30 (UPI) — Sajid Javid was named Britain’s new home secretary after the resignation Monday of Amber Rudd, who’d faced calls for removal in an immigration scandal.
Rudd told the Home Affairs Committee last week that the Home Office, the British government’s domestic affairs agency, did not use quotas in deporting illegal immigrants.
The following day, she told the committee immigration officers did have quotas, but that she was not aware of them.
Her comments were compromised by a leaked Home Office memo that called for a target of 2,800 deportations through 2018, as well as a “10 percent increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year.”
Rudd’s position was further weakened over the weekend when Brandon Lewis, Britain’s former immigration minister, said he and Rudd had weekly meetings to discuss accelerated deportations. Another leak Sunday showed Rudd wrote a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May outlining an “ambitious but deliverable” plan to increase deportations by 10 percent.”
In a series of weekend Twitter messages, Rudd said she was unaware of the memo but admitted she should have known of the targets.
“Amber Rudd resigned because she didn’t know what was going on in her own department and she had clearly lost the confidence of her own civil servants,” opposition parliament member David Lammy said. “The real issue is the hostile environment policy that caused this crisis in the first place.”
May and Rudd have continued to defend Britain’s aggressive policy on deportations, and Rudd’s resignation comes after weeks of testimony criticizing the government’s actions against immigrants. She was forced to apologize for the Windrush scandal, named for a ship which carried immigrants from the Caribbean to Britain between the 1940s and the 1970s.
Despite living legally in Britain for decades, people faced deportation and loss of access to healthcare because they did not retain their paperwork, as officials sought to root out illegal immigration.
Javid, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan, has been the minister for business and culture. He led the government response to the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, in which 71 people died in an apartment building fire. He said Sunday the Windrush scandal felt personal to him.
“I thought that could be my mum, my dad, my uncle, it could be me,” he said of the deportations.