HC Deb 28 July 1891 vol 356 cc551-2
LORD H. BRUCE (Wilts, Chippenham)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade why no attempt was made, previous to the year 1888, by the Board of Trade to enforce the Alien Act in the Ports of London and Hull; why no attempt was made, previous to the year 1890, to enforce the Act in other ports of the United Kingdom; whether the public statement is correct that there are now upwards of 400 aliens, with every apparent prospect of the number increasing, arriving weekly in the Port of London alone, 90 per cent. of whom appear to be in a perfectly destitute condition; and whether the Government intend to take any stringent and effectual measures to prevent this intro mission of indigent foreigners amongst the most emaciated of our poor?


The enforcement of the Alien Acts rests with the Home Secretary and not with the Board of Trade, but the question of their enforcement prior to 1888 was fully gone into by a Committee of this House which sat in 1888–89, and I would refer the noble Lord to the proceedings of that Committee for the information he desires. Since 1890 the Act has been put into operation (at the request of the Board of Trade) at many of the ports of the United Kingdom. The Return lately presented shows that 1,990 aliens, not stated to be en route to America, arrived at London during the month of June last, showing an increase of 300 over the arrivals in June, 1890, but the total number of such aliens arriving at all the English ports in June, 1891, was less by 220 than in June, 1890. It does not appear that there is any sufficient reason at present for the adoption of such a course as is suggested in the last paragraph of the hon. Member's question.