One of the key factors behind the Brexit vote was the belief that the current level of immigration is too high and that it needs to be reduced to the tens of thousands, said Damian Green.
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The First Secretary of State vowed that the Tories should respect the view of the people and set about reducing the number of migrants who come to Britain each year.
Green said: “It is clear that one of the forces behind the Brexit vote was a feeling in some parts of the UK that immigration had been allowed to be too high for too long, and I think we should respect that.
“I think the overall purpose of the Government’s immigration policy is to have immigration at sustainable levels, we do need to identify that as being in the tens of thousands.
“We’re not going to stop immigration overnight, nobody has ever suggested that, that’s never been UK Government policy and it won’t be UK Government policy.
“Immigration policy is always a balancing act between forces pushing in different directions.”
Net migration in Britain last year was around 248,000 in 2016, but worryingly there are an estimated 1.2m illegal immigrants in the UK and around 250,000 migrants drop of the radar and become illegals each year, according to Home Office statistics.