Sajid Javid, the United Kingdom’s new Home Secretary, has given his assurance that he is personally committed to resolving the issues faced by the Windrush generation and has pledged to create a fair and humane immigration system.
British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Javid on Monday to replace embattled politician Amber Rudd, who resigned on Sunday after a leaked letter undermined her claim that she did not know about targets to deport immigrants while in office.
In the days prior to her resignation, Rudd had faced mounting pressure over her role in setting the culture and policies that led to long-term residents of the United Kingdom from Caribbean countries being denied healthcare, pensions and benefits – and in some cases the threat of deportation.
Javid, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s, spoke at the weekend about his initial reaction to news of the treatment of Windrush-generation migrants.
“Like the Caribbean Windrush generation, my parents came to this country from the Commonwealth in the 1960s. They, too, came to rebuild this country and offer all that they had. So when I heard that people who were long-standing pillars of their community were being impacted for simply not having the right documents to prove their legal status in the UK, I thought that it could be my mom, my brother, my uncle or even me,” he lamented.
After his appointment as the new home secretary, Javid said his “most urgent task” was to get to deal with the Windrush crisis and ensure those affected “are all treated with the decency and the fairness they deserve”.
However, British newspaper, The Guardian indicated that Javid declined to say whether this might bring an end to the so-called hostile environment immigration policy or to targets for net removals.
“We’re going to have a strategy in place that does something the previous home secretary set out last week when she made a statement to parliament – to ensure that we have an immigration policy that is fair, it treats people with respect, and with decency…That will be one of my most urgent tasks, to make sure that we look carefully at the policy and make sure it achieves just that – fairness,” he revealed.
In addition, the 48-year-old home secretary said he recognized the scandal could cause concern among ethnic minority voters, but issued a plea to those who had doubts to look at the government’s attempts to “put things right”.
Amber Rudd was forced to step down after a series of revelations in The Guardian newspaper about problems faced by Windrush-generation residents, who came to Britain between 1948 and 1973 on the ship, ‘Empire Windrush.’ This culminated in a leak last Friday that appeared to show she was aware of targets for removing people who were in the country illegally.
The pressure increased on Sunday afternoon as The Guardian revealed that in a leaked 2017 letter to May, Rudd had told the prime minister of her intention to increase deportations by 10 percent. This contradicted her earlier denial to British politicians in parliament last week.