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Sajid Javid: We will do right by Windrush generation

Sajid Javid: We will do right by Windrush generation”

Media captionNew Home Secretary Sajid Javid: "We will do right by the Windrush generation".

British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid as the country's new Home Secretary.

In her resignation letter to May she said: "Since appearing before the select committee, I have reviewed the advice I was given on this issue and become aware of information provided to my office which makes mention of targets".

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott was granted an urgent question to ask the prime minister for a statement of the government's handling of the "Windrush crisis".

Speaking during a local elections campaign visit in Manchester, Mrs May said in a TV interview: "When I was Home Secretary, yes, there were targets in terms of removing people from the country, who were here illegally".

"I'm a second-generation migrant. My parents came to this country from Pakistan, just like the Windrush generation", he said, adding that his father worked in a cotton mill and as a bus driver. "I should have been aware of this, and I take full responsibility for the fact that I was not".

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They received indefinite leave to remain, but many who later failed to get their papers in order have been targeted by immigration laws meant to create a "hostile environment" for illegal immigrants.

He told the Telegraph: "I thought that could be my could be me".

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"We will do right by the Windrush generation", Javid told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

Colleagues have called him a "good operator", and "compassionate and empathetic".

Former investment banker Mr Javid was given the job during a telephone call with Mrs May and becomes the first person from an ethnic minority background to hold one of the four great offices of state.

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But whatever the presentation and the political messaging, the realities of the Windrush fiasco affect real lives. Later this year, the process of assigning status to more than three million European Union nationals living in the United Kingdom will begin, while the department will be responsible for implementing whatever new immigration system is brought in after the end of the implementation period in 2020.

He replaced Amber Rudd, who resigned on Sunday night following a crisis over the threatened deportation of members of the Windrush generation, whose families moved to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 1960s. The observatory estimates that approximately 57,000 people born in Commonwealth countries who have lived in the United Kingdom since 1970 or earlier are not documented as United Kingdom nationals.

The issue centres around thousands of UK-based Jamaicans facing forced deportations due to lack of documentary evidence that they had the right to live and work in Britain because they arrived pre-1973, when stricter new visa norms came into force for all Commonwealth nationals migrating to the UK. Mr Javid told MPs he preferred the phrase "compliant environment".

An early task for Mr Javid will be to finalise the Government's refreshed counter-terror strategy, which is expected to be presented in the coming weeks.

Labour said he would be judged on getting "justice" for people affected. He criticised ministers for referring to illegal immigration in its response to the row. "While a large proportion of them were of Jamaican/Caribbean descent, they also included Indians and other South Asians", said Rob McNeil, Deputy Director of the Migration Observatory.

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