Practice of fingerprinting illegal immigrants abandoned

Home Secretary Theresa May and Immigration Minister Damian Green are under pressure to explain why the policy of abandoning practice of taking fingerprints of illegal immigrants had not been made public.

Only recently it came out that illegal immigrants were no longer routinely fingerprinted.  It was revealed that Border staff had been directed to stop fingerprinting illegal immigrants, caught trying to enter Britain via the Channel Tunnel.

Documents substantiate that immigrants found in vehicles at the Eurotunnel compound at Coquelles, north of Calais, were no longer subjected to routine fingerprinting.

The news is expected to increase pressure on Home Secretary Theresa May, who was involved in controversy over the secret relaxation of British border controls late last year.

The scandal led to the resignation of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) chief, Brodie Clark.

In a letter to Roger Gale, the Conservative MP for North Thanet, the immigration minister confirmed that the fingerprinting of illegal immigrants found concealed in vehicles in Coquelles "has been discontinued" and was now undertaken only when deemed to be of "added operational value".

He added that the UKBA believed the change "will enable its staff to focus on the high priority of searching vehicles and therefore prevent such individuals from even getting to the UK".

As per a report in The Telegraph, immigration minister, Damian Green, has shielded abandoning the "lengthy" process of taking fingerprints, saying UKBA staff was searching cars, lorries and coaches instead.

Roger Gale, the Conservative MP for North Thanet had written to the Home Office to demand an explanation after being told of the development by a constituent.

He told The Sunday Times: "My constituent works for the UKBA service and felt there were a number of real concerns about the changes. He was very worried that no records are being taken."



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