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Javid wants to tackle illegal immigration with empathy

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BAS JAVID, who has been tasked with policing illegal immigration, has said his immigrant background enables him to bring compassion to the role.

Javid was appointed director general for immigration enforcement at the Home Office in November last year. With a budget exceeding £779 million and a staff of more than 6,200, the department will target criminal gangs that facilitate illegal immigration and apprehend individuals who are in the country unlawfully.

His role will include dealing with individuals involved in illegal immigration who are criminals, as well as those subjected to modern-day slavery, exploitation, or poor working conditions.

Javid emphasised the importance of approaching his role with compassion.

In an interview with The Telegraph, he said, “I think my coming from an immigrant background and family of immigrants, with personal experiences of racism and bias, enables me to come from a place of compassion in this job.

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“I don’t know if any previous director of immigration enforcement has been from a minority ethnic background or had parents who came to the UK from another country.

“But when I talk about compassion, that means the ability to understand people’s concerns, or plights, or circumstances. I think anyone can have this mindset, but coming from a migration background myself, maybe it’s more automatic.”

Javid hails from an immigrant family. His father, Abdul Ghani-Javid, was 17 when he arrived in the UK from Pakistan in 1961.

Settling in Rochdale, he initially toiled in cotton mills before becoming a bus driver.

Along with his wife, Zubaid, he raised five sons: Sajid (former chancellor Sajid Javid) and Bas (short for Basit), along with Tariq, Atif and Khalid.

Tariq, sadly, died in 2018, while Atif works as a property developer in Bristol, and Khalid is employed in financial services, the report said.

Javid, 51, who has more than three decades of experience in policing, told the paper, “I don’t make the laws. I’m here to make sure we enforce them.’”

LEAD Bas Javid INSET GettyImages 1258704675
An immigration raid in progress

He spoke about overhauling immigration enforcement, highlighting the government’s new legislation to plug gaps, resulting in the expulsion of illegal residents, particularly those with criminal records, from the UK.

“There’s a huge distinction between someone who is legally or illegally in the UK. I think my friends and family are proud of the fact that I perform a public service, as am I,” he was quoted as saying.

He added, “This isn’t just about individual immigration offenders, we’re targeting the organised crime groups of people smugglers, to disrupt their activity and dismantle their criminal networks. I’ve been amazed by the lengths these people smugglers will go to – to turn a profit – hiding migrants in sofas, car dashboards, or makeshift coffin-like compartments in vans.

“We see people who have been smuggled here, people who believed they would have a better life, but are living in squalor.”

According to reports, around 29,437 people crossed the channel illegally last year. More than 1,000 migrants have made it across so far this year, including 358 in eight boats on January 17.

Javid said, “Ultimately, from an operational perspective, I’m engaged in tackling the organised immigration crime that sits around people smuggling. Crossing the channel on a small boat is a very dangerous thing to do. People get exploited into doing it. They get charged high sums of money. It’s a vile trade.

“Working with the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies, not least our counterparts in France, I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do to toughen legislation to cause a disincentive for people to do it. Anything in our toolbox that is a legitimate way of having a deterrent to the gangs that promote this criminality is the right thing to do.”

Javid served in the Royal Navy from March 1988 as a helicopter engineer and took part in Operation Desert Storm.

He joined the Avon and Somerset Police in November 1993. His career progressed to the Metropolitan Police, where he became commander for frontline policing in London and later deputy assistant commissioner from March 2021 to November 2023.

Javid is single, but has two adult children from a previous relationship, the report said.

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