Sajid Javid Appointed UK Home Secretary Among Growing Windrush Scandal
While you where sleeping, the UK did some shuffling in the government lead by Prime Minster Theresa May. Amber Rudd has resigned as Home Secretary among a growing immigration scandal, with communities secretary Sajid Javid elevated to the post.
Mr Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver whose family came to the UK in the 1960s, had been communities, local government and housing secretary.
Ms Rudd quit after she said she “inadvertently” misled MPs over what she knew about immigration removal targets. Labour’s Diane Abbott said Ms Rudd had “done the right thing” in quitting.
Ms Rudd’s departure came after she faced mounting criticism over her handling of the Windrush scandal and immigration policy.
The Windrush generation settled legally in post-war Britain but their right-to-remain has been questioned, with some people having been detained, lost their jobs and been denied access to medical care.
This has prompted calls for the government to abandon its “hostile environment” policy on illegal immigration, which Ms Rudd and Prime Minister Theresa May have continued to defend.
Home Secretary is a powerful and wide-ranging position in the UK government, with no direct equivalent to the US as it would combine parts of Interior, Justice, and Homeland Security among others. A prestigious posting, and with immigration-related issues in its purview and at the forefront of British politics, a very high-profile one. Often it is seen as a pre-cursor for those who wish to rise to Prime Minster, as May herself did.
Aside from politics, some are touting Mr. Javid’s biography as proof he is the man to have during troubled times.
Sajid Javid has an impressive back story. His father, Abdul, arrived at Heathrow Airport from Pakistan in 1961 with just £1 in his pocket. Javid junior went on to make a reported £3 million a year in banking and is now the UK's first BAME home secretary.
— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) April 30, 2018
Some in the opposition Labour party quickly to criticize the appointment:
Last month Sajid Javid admitted that all those made homeless by the Grenfell Tower fire would not be rehoused within a year. His department has overseen nearly 11 months of failure. Now he takes over at the Home Office as we fight immigration issues connected to Grenfell.
— Emma Dent Coad (@emmadentcoad) April 30, 2018
The “Windrush” scandal refers to the generation of Commonwealth immigrants brought to the UK post-WW2 to help rebuilt England. The subsequent generations have been in legal limbo as changing immigration laws in the UK fail to cover the status of the children since born and now adults, and their children.
They came to help rebuild Britain after the devastation of World War Two, invited by the UK government to lay roads, drive buses, clean hospitals and nurse the sick.
Known as the Windrush generation — the first of their numbers came on the Empire Windrush passenger liner in June 1948 — they were the first large group of Caribbean migrants to arrive in the UK. They came to symbolize the seismic demographic changes that took place in post-war Britain, when hundreds of thousands of people came to the United Kingdom from former British colonies, known as the Commonwealth.
But in recent years, successive British governments have sought to appear tough on illegal immigration, and their descendants are now struggling to prove a citizenship status they previously took for granted. In essence, the children of the Windrush generation are being told they might not be British after all.
Yet the Windrush generation are not illegal immigrants. Until a new immigration law came into force in 1973, Commonwealth citizens and their children had the automatic right to live and work in the UK. Many did so, without any need for additional documentation.
In recent years, however, changes to UK immigration law have caused significant problems for many of them.
Regulations introduced by Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary in the previous Conservative government led by David Cameron, require employers, landlords and health service providers to demand evidence of legal immigration status. In 2012, May described the measures as designed to create a “hostile environment” for people who were in the UK illegally.
With the looming presence of #Brexit, continuing immigration concerns/scandals, and a shuffling of government, our friends across the pond have much for us Americans to keep an eye on.
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