Yesterday, Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary, due to the Windrush Scandal constituting a serious ethics violation in government, and the fact that the public has been lied to about the way immigration enforcement in the U.K. actually works. Some people are questioning why Prime Minister Theresa May hasn’t turned in her resignation as well.
I’m in the United States, and I’m recalling the Watergate Scandal of the 1970s. Although President Richard Nixon did have to resign eventually, he received a pardon from his successor, Gerald Ford. He didn’t experience the consequences that his subordinates suffered.
The United States has had similar scandals since then, mainly in Republican administrations. George W. Bush — Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces — and his cohorts weren’t forced to answer to the torture at Abu Graib prison in Iraq. Instead, servicemembers, who most likely were traumatized by the war experience beforehand and quietly encouraged by superiors, did prison time.
It’s rare for the person at the top to be held accountable. There are just too many people with less power who can be thrown under the proverbial bus.
The situation with Amber Rudd concerns immigration enforcement, including a “targeting” strategy for deportations. There are various paperwork sticking points for immigrants who are most vulnerable, some of whom might be more secure if the United Kingdom hadn’t voted to leave the European Union. Some of the people affected by this neglected to collect documents they need now because they thought they were safe.
Current paperwork nightmares for immigrants involve policy decisions from the past. They include the abandonment of a 2008 plan to issue biometric I.D. cards to noncitizens residing in the country legally. That plan was defeated, partly because of concerns that the I.D. cards were the beginning of an Orwellian system (at the end of this post, see the link to a 25 September 2008 BBC article on the proposal of the I.D. card plan). In retrospect, the cards, as dangerous as they might have been, could have protected some people who are at risk now.
Individuals trying to support themselves and their families will leave their own countries and settle in other places where they’re harassed and exploited, in the hope they might do better than at home. If you’ve never been in that predicament, consider yourself fortunate.
Last Wednesday, Amber Rudd contradicted herself while being questioned during a session of the House of Commons. That may have been what finally forced her resignation, but there’s a lot more going on that Theresa May’s government isn’t explaining.
For the time being, it looks as if there are indeed targets for deportation. Judging by what we hear from our own president on this side of the Atlantic, similar things are going on in the United States.