Windrush descendant told she would need iris scan and fingerprints taken to resolve legal status, says Sheffield MP

A descendant of the Windrush generation who was denied a UK passport has been told by the Home Office that she has to have her fingerprints taken and undergo an iris scan in order to resolve her legal status, an MP has claimed.

Tanya Simms and her nine-year-old daughter Talia
Tanya Simms and her nine-year-old daughter Talia

Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss says the information asked of her British-born constituent Tanya Simms should only be required of someone non-British wishing to apply for residence or citizenship. Ms Simms, the grand-daughter of two members of the Windrush generation, who was turned down for a passport on the grounds that neither of her parents were settled in the UK at the time of her birth, has a meeting with the Home Office today to resolve her case.

Her mother arrived in the country from the Caribbean at the age of 14 in 1973, joining her own parents who came to the UK in the 1960s from Jamaica. She was only naturalised in 1996, six years after her daughter, Ms Simms, was born.

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When someone from her MP’s office called the Home Office’s new Windrush helpline, they were allegedly told the 27-year-old from Sheffield and her family would need to attend a ‘biometric enrolment appointment’ which involves giving fingerprints and undergoing an iris scan.

Gill Furniss MP.

Ms Furniss, who has previously said that failings by the Home Office helpline are causing anxiety, told The Yorkshire Post: “Amber Rudd’s Home Office has requested my constituents to provide biometric information including fingerprints and iris scanning, a process usually reserved for those naturalising in this country, not natural-born British citizens.

“The Home Office is treating people born as citizens in this country as immigrants. This beggars belief.

“I am utterly ashamed of this government’s treatment of the Windrush children. Once again, they have lied about their intentions and have continued to put these families who have given so much to this country under immense stress.

“Amber Rudd’s position as Home Secretary is becoming less and less justifiable. We want answers and we want justice.”

Gill Furniss MP.

A Home Office spokesman said officials were looking to meet Ms Simms about her case and wanted to resolve the stuation as soon as possible.

Separately, Mrs Rudd is facing fresh questions over her claim not to have known about immigration removal targets following the leak of a memo suggesting she was informed by officials.

The Guardian said the secret internal Home Office document referred to “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18” adding “we have exceeded our target of assisted returns”.

According to the paper, the six-page memorandum was prepared by Hugh Ind, the director general of the Immigration Enforcement agency, last June and copied to Ms Rudd, Brandon Lewis, the then immigration minister, as well as a number of senior officials and special advisers.

The latest disclosure comes after Ms Rudd had initially denied targets were used as she was questioned by a Commons committee on Wednesday investigating the Windrush scandal.

However, after it emerged that a 2015 inspection report said the practice did exist, she said that she had never agreed to their use for migrants.