LONDON — Sajid Javid was appointed Britain’s interior minister Monday after his predecessor resigned late Sunday following her admission that she "inadvertently" mislead parliamentarians over a drive to reduce illegal immigration.
Javid, 48, who replaces Amber Rudd, 54, is the first ethnic minority politician to take on the high-profile role responsible for immigration and the police in the United Kingdom.
Javid is the son of a former bus driver from Pakistan.
He has held various cabinet-level positions in Conservative Party governments, most recently as secretary of state for communities and local government.
Rudd had been due to make a statement to Parliament on Monday over a scandal involving the "Windrush generation," which refers to the people — nurses, railway workers, engineers — who came to the U.K. from the Caribbean more than half a century ago to help it rebuild after the devastation of World War II.
The Windrush generation were named for the ship Empire Windrush, which in 1948 brought hundreds of Caribbean immigrants to Britain.
In recent decades, though, many had been refused medical care in Britain or threatened with deportation because they could not produce paperwork proving their right to reside in the country, even though they had an automatic right to do so.
Rudd and May have apologized repeatedly to the Windrush generation in recent weeks, saying all pre-1973 Commonwealth immigrants who don’t already have British citizenship will get it, and those affected will get compensation.
But Rudd’s position worsened after she told lawmakers last week that the government did not have targets for deporting people — only for a 2017 memo to emerge over the weekend that mentioned specific targets for "enforced removals."
Rudd is the fourth member of Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet to resign in six months and May was a leading architect of Britain's tough immigration policies when she was interior minister in ex-prime minister David Cameron's government.
Javid joins London Mayor Sadiq Khan as British politicians with Pakistani roots who have risen from humble working class roots to senior government positions.
Over the weekend, Javid told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that the Windrush scandal was "very personal" to him because he came from a family of immigrants.
"It could have been me, my mum or my dad," he said.