Illegal immigrants in the UK will not be given an amnesty as it would send the "wrong message" to people, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.
Several prominent politicians, most notably London Mayor Boris Johnson, have said an amnesty would help the Home Office deal with the ever-expanding immigration backlog boost the economy by allowing illegal workers to take up legitimate work.
In an interview with The House magazine, Mrs May said many Britons - including members of members of ethnic minorities - felt illegal immigration was "clearly wrong".
She told The House: "There will be many communities here in the UK who themselves feel very clearly that illegal immigration is wrong, particularly if you are thinking of somebody who has come here legally but feels that people get the wrong message about immigration because of illegal immigration, then obviously I think you want to make sure the government is dealing with it."
"I think if you have an amnesty, what you are likely to end up with is not a situation which helps with the control of immigration, but a situation where more people try to come to the UK illegally because the message you're giving is that at some stage that's going to be OK. And that's the problem with the amnesty", Mrs May added.
She also said that the government was "constantly" evaluating its policies, including the contentious Home Office vans telling illegal immigrants to "Go Home or Face Arrest".
Mrs May said: "Obviously on the vans, that was a pilot that we did. We will evaluate the impact of it to look for the future.
But I think the important thing for many members of the public was that something was being done. There was a recognition that there was a need to deal with illegal immigration."
Mrs May, who has been home secretary since the coalition formed in May 2010, said: "One of the lessons I learned fairly early on about immigration is you can't just make a policy change in one area and then leave it.
"You have to constantly be looking at it in order to make sure that what you've done is enough. And then of course people will be keen to see that we are ensuring that people here illegally are being removed."BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS