In a statement sent to this publication, a Home Office spokesperson said it would be “completely false to claim that any immigration activity is conducted under false pretences”.
“All operational activity is intelligence led,” the spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, immigration officials had conducted an operation alongside the Metropolitan Police’s roads and transport team targeting delivery riders in London’s Tooting area, sparking outcry.
In a tweet, the roads and transport team said it had conducted the operation “following numerous complaints about fast food delivery riders”.
The Met branch said that within a 90-minute time period it stopped 48 bikes, with four being seized for having no insurance, three being reported for “offences” and two being arrested for immigration offences.
In a tweet on Thursday, Labour MP for Tooting Rosena Allin-Khan accused officers of “profiling low-paid gig economy workers”.
She said that police had branded the initiative a “road safety policing operation”. However, she said the Home Office said it was in relation to “suspected immigration offences”.
“Doesn’t add up,” Ms Allin-Khan said.
“I'm all for public safety. I'm not in favour of profiling low-paid gig economy workers to appease Priti Patel,” she said, referring to the UK’s Home Secretary.
In an earlier tweet, the Labour MP had said that the incident came across as “racial profiling”.
She said that she was concerned that officers’ actions could “amount to indirect discrimination due to disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups” under the UK’s Equality Act 2010.
“If it's not unlawful, then it's definitely immoral and I cannot defend it,” she said.
In their statement, the Home Office spokesperson said the operation in Tooting “was conducted in relation to suspected immigration offences and two individuals were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences”.
“The Government continues to tackle illegal migration in all its forms and our New Plan for Immigration will speed up the removal of those who have entered the UK illegally,” it said, referencing the UK’s new immigration plan, which has been widely condemned by immigration advocacy groups.