First Windrush, now Brexit: Amber Rudd skips from one blunder to another

Racists—Amber Rudd and Theresa May

Amber Rudd is facing fresh calls to quit as home secretary after it emerged officials were set targets for the removal of illegal immigrants.

For almost two weeks, British ministers have been struggling to explain why some descendants of the so-called "Windrush generation", invited to Britain to plug labour shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, had been labelled as illegal immigrants.

Ms Rudd's appearance in the Commons followed an appearance before the home affairs select committee, where she was asked whether her department had regional targets, after an immigration union official claimed they existed.

"For 2014/15 (10 full months) the Home Office set a target of 7,200 Voluntary Departures, an average of 120 per week, with the weekly target rising to 160 by the end of March 2015".

Ms Rudd said she never agreed to the use of removal targets: "I would never support a policy that puts targets ahead of people". In fact the department had, she now confirmed, operated local targets for "internal use".

SNP MP Alison Thewliss questioned the home secretary in a session of Urgent Questions on the issue on Thursday morning, where she demanded transparency on when targets were introduced, who signed them off, and whether they were in place in Scotland.

Yesterday, the Home Secretary denied that targets were used, when she faced continued grilling from MPs investigating the deportation of immigrants from the Windrush generation.

Rudd said at a lunch with reporters in parliament that it had been "a hard few weeks", but she was committed to the Home Office. Rudd said she would ban targets if they were being used "inappropriately".

"I do think it is right... where there are people here illegally that we do try to remove them", she said, adding that she would take a look at the evidence MPs had.

She has now admitted to "local targets" for "internal performance management" but said she had not known about them.

Earnings reports lift stocks; 10-year yield hits 3 percent
The dollar previously climbed in response to United States yields rallying, pushing prices to their highest since mid-January. USA shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down nearly 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.4 percent lower.

After her appearance in the Commons, politicians and commentators said on Twitter that Rudd was protecting Theresa May.

There was also a target to remove families in the country illegally, though the inspection report said it was not a "useful performance measure".

Moreton had told the committee: "There's increasing pressure across the civil service as a whole to demonstrate value for money... and as that requirement to reduce public sector spending has begun to bite we've seen more and more challenging targets starting with the announcement of the net migration target [to reduce total migration to less than 100,000 a year]".

Rudd responded: "We don't have targets for removals".

Opposition lawmakers called for her to resign.

The spokesman added that the idea of removal targets went back a number of decades under successive governments.

The crisis has focused attention on May, who as interior minister set out to create a "really hostile environment" for illegal immigrants, imposing tough new requirements in 2012 for people to prove their legal status.

The Home Office said it has never been policy to take decisions arbitrarily to meet a target.

The targets are referred to as regional because they were divided up between 19 immigration enforcement teams across the UK.

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