British interior minister faces calls to resign after…

James O'Brien in the LBC studio

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

MPs have said the targets could have led to enforcement officers to target "low-hanging fruit" - people living in the United Kingdom legally but without the correct documents, like numerous "Windrush generation" - a term referring to people invited to Britain to plug labour shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, some of whom have since been labelled as illegal immigrants.

Rudd, on April 25, said that she had asked for more illegal immigrants, nearly 12,000, to be removed per year.

Speaking to journalists at a Westminster lunch, the home secretary said: "I have not approved, seen or cleared any targets for removals looking ahead".

This morning she was hauled into the Commons to explain that while "the immigration arm of the Home Office has been using local targets for internal performance management", they were not her doing.

On April 26, Rudd was asked to be present in front of MPs in the UK House of Commons so she could answer an urgent question from Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

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.

She admitted that she "had not been aware of the targets" and added that she had now asked for more information from officials to ensure targets were not being "used inappropriately". "I do take seriously my responsibility but I do think I am the person who can put it right", she said.

Some of the Windrush migrants have been made homeless, lost their jobs, threatened with deportation and denied benefits, according to the Guardian newspaper.

"We have let you down and I am deeply sorry", she said.

She told MPs: "We don't have targets for removals".

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

"These were not published targets against which performance was assessed".

Rudd set up the hotline on April 16 to help those impacted by the scandal resolve their immigration status, but it has prompted data gathering fears and has been criticised for making claimants feel like it is their responsibility to prove their right to remain, despite having lived here in the United Kingdom for decades.

James O'Brien said that Theresa May should carry the can for the Windrush scandal, not Amber Rudd.

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]".

Prime minister Theresa May's spokesman insisted removal targets was a concept which "goes back over a number of decades", and cited ones imposed by Labour governments from 1998 to 2010, although these were aimed at more specific areas such as asylum seekers and foreign prisoners.

"This country is your home and Britain would not be Britain without you", she said.

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