Sat, 2 March 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Women in Westminster: In Conversation With Tulip Siddiq MP Partner content
Press releases

Amber Rudd 'promised harder immigration crackdown' in private memo to Theresa May

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Amber Rudd said officials would have greater “teeth” to boost deportations of illegal migrants just months before the Windrush saga began, it has been reported.

The Home Secretary set out an “ambitious” plan to oversee the forced or voluntary departure of 10% more people than Theresa May managed when she ran the Home Office, according to the Guardian.

She made the pledge to “ruthlessly” prioritise resources to tackling illegal immigration in a private letter to the Prime Minister dated January 2017, which has been leaked to the paper.

It suggested that by switching money from crime fighting to immigration enforcement she could kick out some 4,000 more illegal migrants a year.

Just a few month later, the first of more than 20 Windrush migrants came forward to tell the Guardian they were under threat of deportation, or loss of health, housing or work rights due to changes in immigration rules.

In the letter, Ms Rudd wrote: “Illegal and would-be illegal migrants and the public more widely, need to know that our immigration system has ‘teeth’, and that if people do not comply on their own we will enforce their return, including through arresting and detaining them.

“That is why I will be refocusing immigration enforcement work to concentrate on enforced removals.

“In particular I will be reallocating £10m (including from low-level crime and intelligence) with the aim of increasing the number of enforced removals by more than 10% over the next few years: something I believe is ambitious, but deliverable.”

The Prime Minister and Home Secretary were forced to apologise this week to the potential 50,000 Commonwealth migrants who have been caught up in the Windrush scandal.  

Critics have blamed the blunder affecting those who came to the UK from the Caribbean before 1971 on the “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants cultivated under Mrs May’s Home Office tenure.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe