Amber Rudd resigns: does the UK need a dedicated 'immigration department'?

Amber Rudd resigns: does the UK need a dedicated 'immigration department'?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary on Sunday evening after it was revealed she planned to increase deportation targets by 10%.

The Guardian published the details of a letter she wrote to Theresa May in 2017 outlining her plans – which casts doubt on her assertion that she was unaware of deportation targets.

As the Brexit deadline of March 2019 looms, immigration is set to become an ever-increasing issue, especially following the Windrush controversy.

So who should be the new Home Secretary – and should a new position be created especially to handle immigration?

On this morning’s breakfast show, host Mike Graham said Rudd “hinted that the job [of Home Secretary] is too big for one man or woman” and wondered if the UK needed a “Homeland Security spin-off”.

Read more: Amber Rudd implies government is unclear on EU customs union

Scott Lucas, Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham, said that while there’s a “serious question of resourcing in the Home Office, if you simply slice it up and don’t deal with other issues, it’s kicking the problem out. On top of this there’s a policy problem.”

Immigration policy for EU citizens following Brexit is still unclear, but the details made public so far show that those from EU countries will have two years post-Brexit to move to the UK.

Other reports suggest that Theresa May is set to put forward a deal similar to the current free movement terms, but with extra powers for the UK to stop it in some situations.

Professor Lucas said the current immigration policy urgently needed revising.

“When you embark upon a policy which is simply to step up the removal of immigrants, you make it a game of numbers rather than dealing with the core issues of immigration,” he said.

“Windrush is a catalyst which has exposed a far wider problem which is ‘targeting immigrants’ without having an effective policy.

“Protocol meant [Amber Rudd] had to go, but protocol doesn’t remove the problem,” he continued.

“Theresa May pinned her flag on the idea of a crackdown on immigration – whenever you crack down on illegal immigrants, people who have the right to be here also come under scrutiny.

“With Brexit now sweeping up everything, all of this is heading towards what I would say is a political and economic crash.

“These issues that haven’t been resolved are a dangerous combination; a failure of domestic policy.”

May is expected to announce the new Home Secretary soon, but there’s no word on whether the government will appoint a dedicated ‘immigration minister’.