Home Office: ID cards catch first illegal immigrant

The Home Office is singing the praises of its controversial identity card scheme, after the fingerprinting system caught its very first illegal immigrant weeks after launching.

The identity card scheme has caught its first illegal immigrant, the Home Office has said.

Foreign nationals those people from other countries looking to stay in the UK started being interviewed to receive biometric identity cards last month.

Indian-born Ranjit Singh applied to stay in the country on the basis of a common law relationship with a Briton, meaning that under the new rules he was forced to give his fingerprints to the UK Border Agency at an ID centre in Sohlihull on Monday - the first day such fingerprinting took place.

After his fingerprints matched that of a failed asylum seeker of the same name, Singh admitted to immigration officers he'd previously made a "bogus asylum application," the Home Office said.

Singh has been charged with "seeking leave to remain in the UK by deception" to which he pleaded guilty yesterday. He will be sentenced in January.

Gail Adams, the UK Border Agency's regional director, said the case showed that the controversial system makes it easier to catch illegal immigrants. "This instant result shows how effective identity cards will be in preventing immigration abuse. Individuals will be locked down to one identity through their facial image and fingerprints."

But Guy Herbert, general secretary of anti-ID card group NO2ID, asked: "What proportion of false matches are they turning

up? And how good is the technology alone as evidence - that is real

evidence - against someone who doesn't admit a match that is found?"

Click here for everything you need to know about ID cards.

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