MPs have said the targets could have led to enforcement officers to target "low-hanging fruit" - people living in the United Kingdom legally but without the correct documents, like numerous "Windrush generation" - a term referring to people invited to Britain to plug labour shortfalls between 1948 and 1971, some of whom have since been labelled as illegal immigrants.
A 2015 report says the Home Office set targets for voluntary departures of people who could not lawfully stay in the United Kingdom, it has emerged.
"I have never agreed that there should be specific removal targets", Rudd told parliament on Thursday. She questioned the Home Office advice to callers, which says they don't need legal representation.
But Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said Ms Rudd should resign as a matter of "honour" after confirming the existence of the targets, which union officials have said are prominently displayed on posters at regional immigration centres.
The Home Secretary made clear she would not resign over the treatment of the Windrush generation, and secured the support of Downing Street and Conservative MPs.
Labour's Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said it was "deeply disappointing" Ms Rudd "did not know the facts" when she gave evidence.
She admitted that she "had not been aware of the targets" and added that she had now asked for more information from officials to ensure targets were not being "used inappropriately".
"When that Prime Minister was Home Secretary, meeting those targets would have been made a lot easier by describing people who had every right to be here as not having the right to be here". What's more, yesterday she denied that her.
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Asked by Labour MP Rachel Maskell who was running the department if Ms Rudd did not know about the targets, the home secretary said: "I accept the criticism on the issue. that's why I'm in the house today setting out the changes I'm going to make.to continue to develop the confidence of everybody involved".
The report said the target was "not a useful performance measure" due to the varying nature of cases year to year.
She told MPs: "We don't have targets for removals".
"You can't set targets for people you want to kick out without deciding that some people won't get a fair hearing, because there's a quota to meet by the end of the year", said co-leader Jonathan Bartlett. "We don't have targets for removals - if you are asking me if there are numbers of people we expect to be removed, that's not how we operate", she said.
PM May has also come under fire for her suspected role in the Home Office's policy and hostility toward the Windrush generation, as she formerly headed the department.
They embarrassingly emerged in a 2015 report this morning, and the disclosure has put more pressure on Rudd to resign over the Windrush scandal and, more broadly, government immigration policy and "hostile environment" created by her predecessor Theresa May.
What the scandalous Windrush saga has demonstrated is that the Home Office simply isn't fit to be left in charge of who comes in and out of this country.
The targets are referred to as regional because they were divided up between 19 immigration enforcement teams across the UK.