Rudd’s resignation and British attitudes to immigration | Letters

Professor Raj Bhopal argues we need to change the language around migrants. Otto Inglis and Philip Duval say most British people do want controls on immigration. Michael Jones and Annabelle Zinovieff say immigration policy must be more compassionate

The Windrush affair continues to expose the fault lines in British society and immigration policy (Rudd quits over Windrush scandal, 30 April). The government has defended the hostile environment policy as primarily targeted at “illegal immigrants”. A person as opposed to an action, however, cannot be illegal. And it is unwise to use harsh, derogatory language about people.

To promote constructive dialogue among more than 700 people from 50-plus countries at the first World Congress on Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health being held in Edinburgh (17-19 May), we have recommended using “irregular migrant”, defined as: “A person who, owing to unauthorized entry, breach of a condition of entry, failure to gain asylum, or the expiry of his or her visa, lacks legal authorisation to reside in the country where they find themselves.”

Such a change would be a step towards rebuilding the tarnished reputation of this country in relation to immigration policy and race relations.
Professor Raj Bhopal
Chairperson, First World Congress of Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health

• So another piece of political theatre comes to its denouement with Amber Rudd’s resignation. Conservative Home Office scandals are as predictable as pantomimes and come with their own time-honoured tropes including: cruel heartless and usually racist Tories and their selfless Labour opponents championing the underdog.

Behind the scenes the reality is rather different. The underlying driver of the Home Office’s enduring difficulties is that the views of our political, media and judicial establishments on crime and immigration are fundamentally at odds with those of the majority of the British people. The public want firm but fair control of immigration.

In the case of the Windrush scandal, we expect a speedy and fair resolution for people who have long integrated into British life, whether they are technically citizens or not.

It is time that all elements of the establishment grasped that control of immigration – the issue that determined the result of the Brexit referendum – really matters to the British public.
Otto Inglis

• The Windrush generation are not the only immigrants who have fallen short of the increased hostility of the UK government to migrants. After I married a Japanese national in 1992, we moved to the UK. Within 12 months, she was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Similarly, in 1995 we returned to Japan for my work and I was soon granted indefinite leave to remain. However, when we came back to the UK in 2010 (in order for me to establish what has become a flourishing biotechnology company) the UK government’s attitude to foreigners had hardened to the extent that, despite 25 years of marriage, my wife still does not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and we have paid thousands in exploitative visa fees and undergone numerous stressful tests.

A British citizen should have the right to live with their long-term foreign spouse in either of their countries of birth. However, the government would rather hit its arbitrary immigration and deportation targets than see decent people treated decently.
Michael Jones
CEO, Cell Guidance Systems
Royston, Hertfordshire

• The elation among Labour party activists who helped bring down Amber Rudd will be short lived. It was obvious when the liberal media and Tory neoliberal globalists worked lock-step to ensure her resignation that the entire Windrush scandal was a well set up ploy designed to get rid of a home secretary who actually wanted to fulfil the wishes of the British public and control our borders, particularly after Brexit.

Labour politicians will celebrate for now but in short order will face again the question of what immigration policy they will present to the public. They will be forced to explain why so many of them want continued open borders. Hopefully it will also become clear that the unknown number of Windrush deportees, plus all those Caribbean people now worrying about their citizenship status, were simply pawns in a much bigger game.
Philip Duval

• There is a correlation between the appalling treatment the Windrush generation has suffered and the unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (Dubs children) promised safety and sanctuary but denied it by the Home Office. In May 2016 parliament voted to amend the immigration bill to allow some of the “most vulnerable” children already in Europe to come to the UK. But the implementation was at fault because this government did not honour parliament or our obligation as fellow humans.

Earlier this month, Rudd said she was “worried the Home Office has become too concerned with policy and strategy and sometimes loses sight of the individual”. Too right. These are children fleeing war with no adult to look out for them. They have no voice against the hostility of the UK towards immigration, and they need our help.
Annabelle Zinovieff
Faringdon, Oxfordshire

• Green gone. Amber gone. Is the government at the crossroads?
Claude Scott
Richmond, Surrey

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