Cooper attacks immigration policy
The Borders Agency is not taking illegal immigration or enforcement policy seriously and deportation rates have dropped as a result, Labour's shadow home secretary claims.
Yvette Cooper said worsening results on foreign criminals were not the fault of the Human Rights Act or the courts, but the Government's failure to get policy right.
But quizzed on what Labour would do about immigration levels if in office, Ms Cooper failed to provide a target figure - claiming it was more important to look at particular groups of migrants.
Labour recently acknowledged it had made mistakes on immigration during its 13 years in office and said it would develop new ideas.
Speaking to the BBC Sunday Politics programme, Ms Cooper laid the blame for current problems at the Government's door.
She said: "We know illegal immigration is getting worse at the moment - for example there has been a nearly 20% reduction in the number of illegal migrants being stopped as a result of the downgrading of security checks last year.
"We know there's a nearly 20% reduction in the number of foreign criminals being deported.
"The starting point for any system if it's going to be fair is the rules need to be enforced and that means you need proper enforcement, proper action on illegal immigration.
"The problem has got worse even in the last 12 months. Since the election there has been a reduction in people being deported, not in fact because of the courts but because the Borders Agency is not taking illegal immigration seriously, is not taking enforcement seriously, and is not getting bureaucracy right.
"I think that does reflect the Home Secretary (Theresa May) took a decision to cut 5,000 staff from the Border Agency. That is putting huge pressure and we are seeing it at the borders and Heathrow at the moment."