ICYMI: Sajid Javid ‘taking UK down dangerous road’ by expanding citizenship stripping

Further undermining of citizenship through expanded revocation beyond terror or treason:

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is taking the UK down a “very dangerous road” with plans to expand powers to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship, a leading human rights group has warned.

Suspected terrorists have previously had their UK citizenship taken away – most often while they are abroad – and the move does not require prior approval from a judge or parliament.

In his speech at the Conservative party conference, Javid proposed extending the reach of the power to cover serious criminals, citing child grooming gangmasters as an example.

Corey Stoughton, acting director of Liberty, the human rights and civil liberties group, said: “The home secretary is taking us down a very dangerous road. Few will sympathise with the people this power has been used against – but making our criminals someone else’s problem is not responsible, effective policymaking. It’s the government washing its hands of its responsibilities.

“Accepting citizenship stripping as a legitimate punishment could see us all sleepwalking into a future where the list of ‘serious’ crimes gets ever longer and the government uses this extreme measure more and more frequently. Banishment belongs in the dark ages and has no place in the UK in 2018.”

From 2010 to 2015, 33 people were stripped of their British citizenship, all of them dual nationals, on terrorism grounds. Figures for 2015 onward have not been made available.

Javid has made tackling child sexual exploitation a key issue for his department. He recently announced an extra £21.5m to help investigators who say they are facing a “constant uphill struggle” to track down offenders.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Any British citizen may be deprived of his or her citizenship if the secretary of state is satisfied that it would be conducive to the public good. It is a power used for extreme and exceptional cases.

“Deprivation on conducive grounds can be used where individuals pose a threat to national security, or have been involved in war crimes, serious and organised crime and unacceptable behaviours such as extremism or glorification of terrorism.”

Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said citizenship stripping was discriminatory against minority communities. “Stripping dual nationals of British citizenship is inherently discriminatory and risks creating yet another ‘hostile environment’ not for illegality but for Britain’s many minority communities,” she said.

“The Conservatives’ inability to learn from past mistakes beggars belief, even when mealy mouthed apologies are barely dry on the page. Why not punish Britons according to their crimes rather than their origins?”

In his conference speech, Javid said: “The home secretary has the power to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship. It is a power used for extreme and exceptional cases. It should be used with great care and discretion – but also determination.

“In recent years we have exercised this power for terrorists who are a threat to the country. Now, for the first time, I will apply this power to some of those who are convicted of the most grave criminal offences. This applies to some of the despicable men involved in gang-based child sexual exploitation.”

Source: Sajid Javid ‘taking UK down dangerous road’ by expanding citizenship stripping

Sajid Javid backs plans for stricter citizenship rules after Brexit

Values tests play more heavily to the base and public rather than being effective as applicants can simply provide the desired response without believing in it.

Fact-based tests are more objective and do not encourage dishonesty:

The government has announced stricter immigration and citizenship rules to come into place after Brexit, with Sajid Javid later telling the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner that he was unworried by the suggestion such rules would have prevented his own father entering the UK.

The home secretary used his speech to the Conservative party conference to say people seeking British citizenship would face tougher English-language requirements, part of an immigration overhaul that will include the end of free movement from the EU.

In a broad speech set to intensify speculation about his leadership ambitions, Javid unveiled plans for a beefed-up “British values test” to replace the Life in the UK test for those looking to settle in the country.

Overnight, he and Theresa May had announced proposals for a single immigration system that treats people from EU countries the same as those from non-EU countries. Highly skilled workers who want to live and work in Britain would be given priority, while low-skilled immigration would be curbed.

Speaking later in an interview on the conference fringe with Viner, the home secretary said he was not concerned by the thought that under such a regime his father, who arrived from Pakistan in 1961 with £1 and no skills, would be barred from entry.

When his father came, Javid said, the entry system was very different as the governments of the time “wanted, needed, a route for low-skilled migration”.

Asked if it made him sad this would no longer be the case, he said: “No, it doesn’t make me feel sad. Actually, with today’s policy it makes me very optimistic about our future. Because what I have also set out is that we will remain the global-outlook nation that welcomes people from across the world, no matter where they’re from.”

In his speech, Javid announced plans aimed at improving integration and described the current Life in the UK test as a “pub quiz”.

“It’s about integration, not segregation,” he said. “And I’m determined to break down barriers to integration wherever I find them. Take, for example, the most basic barrier of all: language.”

Javid said 700,000 people living in the UK could not speak English.

“As home secretary, I will apply these principles to those who arrive in our country. So not only will there be a new values test but we will also strengthen the English-language requirements for all new citizens.”

Highly skilled migrants coming to the UK on a work visa will not face tougher language requirements than those already in place, the Guardian understands.

Javid said earlier he would consider scrapping the cap on the number of highly skilled migrants as part of the post-Brexit plan. The limit is currently 20,000.

Applicants will need to meet a minimum salary threshold – for highly skilled migrants this currently stands at £30,000 – but Javid has hinted that this will be reviewed.

In his speech in the main hall, the home secretary said: “Thanks to the [Brexit] referendum we now have a unique opportunity to reshape our immigration system for the future.

“A skills-based, single system that is opened up to talent from across the world. A system that doesn’t discriminate between any one region or country. A system based on merit. That judges people not by where they are from, but on what they can do.

“What people want – and they will get – is control of our own system. With a lower, and sustainable level of net migration. And, above all, that has to mean one thing: an end to freedom of movement.”

The government has said it intends to publish a white paper this autumn and a bill the following year, meaning it is highly unlikely MPs will get to vote on the legislation before the UK leaves the EU in March.

In the interview with Viner, Javid, who has previously spoken about how his mother did not learn to speak English until more than decade after she arrived in the UK, talked about his anger at the unfair targeting of people from the Windrush generation by immigration enforcement.

“The first thing that went through my mind is that it could have been my parents,” he said. “Imagine if this was my mum or my uncle, someone who had lived in Britain their whole life, contributed so much, being detained or, worse, removed from the country.”

But Javid vehemently rejected that the post-2010 Conservative government had been primarily responsible for the Windrush crisis with the so-called hostile environment policy, saying a lot of it had begun under Labour.

“If people portray this as a problem that happened under a Tory government, it’s incorrect. It’s either bad reporting or a deliberate attempt to twist the fact,” he said.

Javid, who again spoke about a range of subjects well beyond his official brief, was similarly blunt about Labour’s interventionist economic policies, saying: “The trouble is, Jeremy Corbyn really believes what he says. And he’s completely deluded.”

Elsewhere in his speech, he announced a package of new measures to tackle forced marriage, including proposals to refuse spousal entry to the UK where there is evidence a marriage is forced.

Source: Sajid Javid backs plans for stricter citizenship rules after Brexit

Sajid Javid’s immigration proposal exposes the insanity of Brexit

Ongoing disaster, more apparent as the deadline looms:

Reality is at last dawning. The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is reportedly to propose that EU passport holders will be waved through immigration “for 30 months”, in the event of a no-deal Brexit next March. They will only need to apply for visas later, if they wish to stay permanently.

This is reportedly a concession to business, employers and the chancellor, Philip Hammond. They have been frantically pointing out that farms, hospitals, care homes, construction sites, hotels and restaurants will simply close if their regular input of EU labour, skilled and unskilled, dries up from March. It is already declining at the prospect of Brexit. Stopping it or smothering it with bureaucracy would be the most savage act of self-harm by a British government in living memory.

The truth is that Javid has other problems. It is an open secret that Home Office officials have told him they cannot possibly construct a hard border for all EU visitors at ports of entry by next March. They cannot even contemplate one in Northern Ireland, where the argument is still over lorries, let alone people. Free movement of EU citizens will remain of necessity, until some hard-Brexit thinktank can devise an alternative to the free market in continental labour, so ardently championed by their hero Margaret Thatcher in 1986. They have 30 months to do so, or it will be 30 years.

Reporters returning last week from Salzburg expressed dismay that few heads of government seemed to care about Brexit. It was a minor local trouble on the fringe of Europe. Overwhelmingly they cared about migration. All face an anti-immigrant electoral backlash and many are now installing border controls. While the issue is mostly non-EU migrants, open borders are likely to be the first of the single market’s four freedoms to crumble.

This makes Brexit bitterly paradoxical. Leave voters were never worried over trade or tariffs, and no survey suggests otherwise. Brexit was driven by a concern with immigration. Yet at the very moment when the EU agrees, and starts to tackle it, Britain jumps the gun and leaves in a huff. Now, to pile irony upon irony, Britain’s home secretary moves in the opposite direction. Britain’s EU border must remain open for the simple reason that he cannot close it. Closure is economically harmful and practically impossible.

Perhaps Javid should talk to those of his colleagues now talking of a Brexit “Canada option”, defying Theresa May’s frictionless border pledge. This would impose border checks on all exports – merely admitting roughly half tariff-free. It would also require Britain’s tradable products, including food, to meet EU regulations, over which Britain will have surrendered all control.

If Javid can “wave through” people on grounds of economic expediency, he can surely wave through trade. That is called membership of a single market. With each passing day, we learn that leaving it is massively against Britain’s interest. It is perhaps no surprise that Brexit fanatics tend also to be climate change deniers.

Source: Sajid Javid’s immigration proposal exposes the insanity of Brexit

UK: Government halts ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy after Windrush scandal

Undoing one of the legacies of the previous conservative home secretaries:

The government has halted its “hostile environment” policy for anyone over 30 to prevent more people being “wrongly and erroneously impacted” by the measures, following the Windrushscandal, the home secretary has said.

Sajid Javid said data sharing between the Home Office and other government departments, such as HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions – as well as banks and building societies – has been suspended for three months for people of all nationalities aged over 30.

In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Javid​ said the department was also looking at the best ways of evaluating the effectiveness of the policy – which he has renamed the “compliant” environment – to ensure there is “no adverse impact on individuals who have a right to be here and to access those services”.

The Home Office has so far issued documentation confirming a right to live in the UK to 2,125 people who contacted the Windrush hotline. Of these, 1,014 were born in Jamaica, 207 in Barbados, 93 in India, 88 in Grenada, 85 in Trinidad and Tobago and 638 were from other countries.

Some 584 people have so far been granted citizenship through the Windrush scheme.

The department is only in touch with 14 people who were wrongly deported, and no details have been given about their nationalities or whether any of them had been allowed to return to the UK. Contact has not been made with the majority of those wrongly deported or removed, the Home Office has said.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said she was disappointed there was still no clarity about the number of people wrongly detained, and that the Home Office had “still not managed to make contact with the majority of those who were wrongfully deported or removed”.

“The committee is awaiting more information from the Home Office, which is expected by the end of this week, and will be asking further questions to follow up the information in the Home Secretary’s letter,” she said.

Mr Javid said officials were also reviewing cases where the Home Office has ordered other departments to deny or revoke services, or taken action to penalise a third party for employing or housing an unlawful migrant.

A final figure of those affected will not be available until the review is complete, he said.

The news comes after a damning report by the Home Affairs Select Committee said unless the Home Office was overhauled, the scandal “will happen again, for another group of people”.

The committee expressed concern for the children of EU citizens, saying the government should ensure they are not “locked out of living a lawful life, as we have seen happen to members of the Windrush generation”.

The MPs also said recent attempts by the government to rebrand its “hostile environment” policy the “compliant environment”, were “meaningless”.

Source: Government halts ‘hostile environment’ immigration policy after Windrush scandal

Will Sajid Javid force Theresa May’s hand on immigration? | Coffee House

Long overdue for a shake-up and undoing some of PM May’s legacy as Home Secretary:

Sajid Javid is losing no time establishing his personal authority as Home Secretary and making the case for change. I wrote in my Daily Telegraphcolumn two weeks ago that the test of his independence would be whether he’d pick a fight with Theresa May on Tier 2 visas: doctors, engineers and other skilled workers coming from outside the EU. That fight has now begun. Andrew Marr asked him why thousands of tier-2 skilled workers had been rejected recently, usually because they’re not earning £50k. Marr quoted one NHS manager saying it was “completely barmy”. It seems that the new Home Secretary agrees

“When that policy was put in place, there was a cap that was established: 20,700 a year of these highly-skilled immigrants. For years and years that cap wasn’t hit. It’s only in recent months that the cap has been hit. The doctor you refer to is probably referring to the fact that this includes a number of doctors who are qualified, that our NHS needs, who are being turned away.
I see the problem with that. It is something that I’m taking a fresh look at. I know a number of my colleagues certainly want me to take a look at this and that’s exactly what I’m doing. And I hope to think about this more carefully and see what can be done.”
His predecessor, Amber Rudd, tried to think “more carefully” about Tier 2 immigration – and, as Tony Blair might say, she still has scars on her back to prove it. The fights with No10 were vicious and she got nowhere. Theresa May is strongly against any relaxation of any immigration rules, remaining committed to her immigration target of 100,000 a year. Which shows no sign of being met.

Net migration

Mrs May has long loathed what she regards as the whining of her colleagues about immigration – she even moved Jo Johnson from his role as Universities Minister due to his campaign to have foreign students excluded from the net figure.

But Javid is showing defiance on students, too. “There is a perception problem around this,” he said. He admitted that he has “long considered” whether students should be taken out of the target.  And yes, he’ll review it. “It is something that I would like to look at again.” It’s not something the Prime Minister wants to look at again, but that doesn’t seem to concern him unduly.

So what about the “tens of thousands” target for net immigration, blurted out one day by Damian Green on a television sofa when the Tories were in opposition? “That’s a manifesto commitment of ours,” Javid said, glumly. When asked repeatedly if he is personally committed to that target, he would say only that he’s bound by the manifesto.

Marr asked him why Ruth Davidson is attacking the ‘tens of thousands’ target: the answer is that she has never stood as an MP and is, ergo, not bound by any Westminster manifesto. Javid is bound to the manifesto but evidently does not feel bound to Mrs May’s Home Office policies. As he said, his Cabinet colleagues are with him on this – and he’s listening to them, not to her. The question is whether she will, as a result, now listen to him and change the Tier-2 visa policy. Watch this space.

via Will Sajid Javid force Theresa May’s hand on immigration? | Coffee House

UK: Sajid Javid has a unique opportunity to change the toxic debate over immigration. But he might not be allowed to

Interesting analysis of Gresham’s law as applied to immigration debates in the UK and the challenges (and opportunity) facing the new Home Secretary:

Amber Rudd’s departure has not eased the pressure on the government over the Windrush scandal. The questions keep on coming. This afternoon Labour is urging the Commons to ask ministers to publish all the government documents relating to the affair since 2010, which could shed new light on Theresa May’s involvement as home secretary.

Sajid Javid, Rudd’s successor, must answer claims that senior officials were paid bonuses for hitting targets for deporting illegal immigrants and that foreign students were wrongly deported over language tests. There are also suggestions May blocked moves to lift a cap on visas for foreign doctors that the NHS needed.

Javid must design a new system for EU migration post-Brexit which does not repeat the Windrush mistakes. That’s before he turns his attention to the rise in violent crime, the terrorist threat and other nasties lurking in the woodwork that we don’t know about.

Javid made an encouraging start by ditching May’s rhetoric about a “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, which indirectly caused the Windrush scandal. But his move has worried right-wing Conservative MPs, who fear he is going soft on “illegals”. In fact, Javid has not changed the policy, merely its label. Some Tories, including May, are convinced the public are on their side on “illegals” and therefore bring the conversation back to this topic at every opportunity.

Of course, people are against illegal activity. The UK does have a problem regarding illegal immigration. But talking about that to the exclusion of everything else risks repeating the mistakes of both Tory and Labour politicians for the past 20 years. They have assumed the worst on public opinion and pandered to it. Labour talked tough to prevent the Tories exploiting immigration. The Tories ramped up the rhetoric to combat Ukip’s threat. The party which trumpets providing the first BAME home secretary ran a disgraceful campaign to stop Sadiq Khan becoming London Mayor, only to find the capital’s voters much more tolerant.

I recall being told by a Tony Blair aide that a forthcoming Queen’s speech would include an immigration bill. But the Home Office knew nothing about it – an example of the “do something” culture. Blair got his bill.

The Tories set their arbitrary target to reduce annual net migration below 100,000, which depends as much on the number of people leaving as coming in. Immigration figures were published every three months, showing the target was never going to be hit, which fuelled public scepticism about politicians. So did Labour’s woeful underestimation of the number who would come to Britain after Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004.

The ever-tougher rhetoric created a vicious circle, as politicians shouted louder to cover their failure to meet public expectations, which they created but could never deliver on. It was rare to talk up the benefits of immigration. As Sir Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s policy chief, admitted on Monday: “All of us over the past 20, 30 years in British politics have underplayed the advantages to our country of migration, so the argument has become unbalanced.”

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because the same happened on Europe. After 30 years of criticising the EU, promising to slay the dragon of an imaginary superstate and never talking about the benefits of membership, it was hardly surprising the public voted to leave.

On immigration, public opinion is more nuanced than many politicians believe. Some 120 group discussions in 60 places held by the British Future think tank found that most people are “balancers” who recognise the benefits of migration but worry about the impact locally.

In an open letter to Javid, Sunder Katwala, the think tank’s director, said its “national conversation” had found much scope for consensus. He added: “A balanced policy can square this circle: ensuring that Britain controls the large-scale movement of lower-skilled workers that fuelled the Brexit vote while remaining open to the skills and energy that generations of new arrivals have contributed to our economy and society.”

British Future found that two thirds of people would support an annual cap on low-skilled workers; it enjoys majority support among Labour and Tory supporters and Remainers and Leavers. Nick Boles, a former Tory minister, has also proposed replacing the current target with an annual cap reflecting the economy’s needs. Javid might be sympathetic, but feels hemmed in by last year’s Tory manifesto “objective” to reduce net migration to “the tens of thousands”.

A similar conclusion was reached by the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which said in January: “Treating different kinds of migration differently would reflect most people’s views of immigration, and allow for much greater consensus to be built into the debate, as well as for greater transparency over immigration policy in general.”

Javid has a lot of speed reading to do. But he should read the British Future and select committee reports on the scope for consensus. He has a unique opportunity to break the vicious circle, and end our polarising and toxic debate on immigration. The question is: will May let him?

Source: Sajid Javid has a unique opportunity to change the toxic debate over immigration. But he might not be allowed to

UK Immigration Scandal Offers Tories a Shot at Redemption – Bloomberg

Good overview with some polling data regarding UK attitudes towards immigration:

The resignation of U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd on Sunday is bad news for the Conservative government on several fronts. A close ally of British Prime Minister Theresa May who had her boss’s back on a number of occasions, Rudd was seen as a rising star in the Conservative Party, a potential prime minister herself and the most articulate opponent of Brexitin the cabinet.

The real problem her resignation raises, though, isn’t the damage to May’s already weakened government or the shifting cabinet balance toward more euroskeptic members. It is yet more confirmation that the Conservative Party’s immigration policy is a mess. It embraces a “target culture” that not only hurts Britain’s economic interests but damages its global reputation.

For most of the last decade Conservative immigration policy has been populist and ineffective. Officially and unofficially, the name of the game was keepy-outy. Rudd’s attempts to uphold the policies of her predecessors descended into the grotesque.

The first sign of serious trouble concerned a generation of immigrants who were invited between 1948 and 1971 to help rebuild Britain after World War II during a time of labor shortage. Members of the so-called Windrush generation (named for one ship on which many arrived) came from Caribbean countries and were told they could stay indefinitely. But the Home Office didn’t keep records of those granted a right to stay — by some estimates, about 500,000 people. And in 2010 the Windrush landing cards, proving arrival for many, were destroyed as part of a cull of old paperwork.

This shoddy management became a more serious problem when landmark changes to immigration law — overseen by May herself when she was home secretary — made the lives of the Windrush generation untenable.

Immigrants, even those who had been there decades, faced new requirements for detailed documentation in order to access employment or benefits and health care. May’s “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants was meant to encourage self-deportations. (Remember that idea, Americans?)

It didn’t seem to result in many self-deportations, but it did lead to widespread injustices. Migrants faced demands that they prove their immigration status; landlords and employers risked large fines for renting to or employing illegal immigrants. A Law Society report found “clear evidence of serious flaws in the way visa and asylum applications are being dealt with.”

Some Windrush immigrants faced inhumane treatment by the country that had been their home for decades. They were denied re-entry into the U.K., health care and other rights. A media and public opinion outcry in recent weeks forced by both May and Rudd to apologize and promise justice and compensation.

They looked likely to ride out the Windrush storm until it emerged that the Home Office had set targets for illegal deportations. Rudd denied the existence of targets to a parliamentary committee, before leaked Home Office documents confirmed them. Five public apologies in a week were too many. Either she wasn’t in command (something many suspected) or she simply misled Parliament.

In immigration control, when officials are ordered to meet deportation targets, ugly things happen. Asylum case workers have described a system that is arbitrary and rushed, in which workers are trained to find ways to say no.

British Conservatives may be more socially minded than their American counterparts — nobody questions universal health care here, for example — but they ostensibly stand for innovation, entrepreneurship, individual freedom and opportunity. And yet for years, dating back to David Cameron’s government in 2010, this party has made it harder — sometimes with just the sheer expense and bureaucratic hassle — for foreign workers, students and family members to settle in the U.K. with increasingly stringent immigration policy and populist rhetoric. In the race for global talent, Britain has slowed its pace to a languid walk.

It was left to Labour’s Diane Abbott to make the case for a more reasonable migration policy: “In trade negotiations our priorities favor growth, jobs and prosperity. We make no apologies for putting these aims before bogus immigration targets.”

Meanwhile, the government’s target to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands” is so unrealistic that very few Britons are under any illusion that it will be met. Net immigration has declined — but the biggest declineshave come from European Union citizens, without whom the health service and other parts of the economy couldn’t function. Migration from non-EU countries has continued to rise.

Sadly the government seems to be responding to a crude reading of public sentiment. Ask Britons if they want to see less immigration, and most will say yes — though notably views have softened somewhat since the Brexit referendum and the trend is toward greater acceptance.

But ask them about particular classes of immigrants — students, nurses, the Windrush generation — and their replies are far more magnanimous. They want border control and fewer immigrants, but also a system that is fair and humane and welcomes people who will contribute.

By many accounts Rudd, along with some other leading Conservatives, had been uncomfortable with the immigration targets; and yet she placed loyalty to her boss and the party first. Other Conservatives have challenged May over aspects of the Conservative immigration policy from the targets to the indefinite detention of immigrants that has led to appalling conditions.

The good news is that it’s never too late: The Conservatives now have an opportunity to clean up the mess. The new home secretary, Sajid Javid, is the son of a Pakistani immigrant and a Muslim; his father arrived in Britain with 1 pound in his pocket in the 1960s, according to Javid.

In his first remarks Monday, he promised to look into injustices at the Home Office and promised a full review of the policies that led to Rudd’s embarrassment. That review shouldn’t end with the Windrush scandal. An honest review will mean changing the policies that May and her party have been so closely associated with for years. That will not be easy, but the country will be better off if neither of them flinch. It just might save the Conservative Party from the embarrassment of more such scandals.

via Immigration Scandal Offers Tories a Shot at Redemption – Bloomberg