HC Deb 30 July 1906 vol 162 cc431-2
MR. LEVY (Leicestershire, Loughborough)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the fact that immigrants who left Russia to escape from religious and political persecution have recently been refused permission to land at the port of London; whether he can state why Moses Enigorn, Zalman Wein, Susicha Zusman, Reisel Sedlitzky, on board the "Schwalbe, "Itzig Levin, Sarah Kamisar, Yankel Truse, Jacob Pollack, on board the "Adler, "were refused permission to land, seeing that each was in possession of not less than £5; who was the immigration officer who refused permission; who were the members of the Immigration Board before whom the appeals were held and upheld; and whether he proposes to take steps to insure the Aliens Act being administered in the spirit intended by Parliament.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) I am not aware of the fact suggested in the first sentence of the Question. The alien immigrants named were refused leave to land because neither the immigration officers nor the Board were satisfied that they had the means of supporting themselves decently, I must repeat that the mere possession of the sum of £5 or a little more is no proof of means if there is any reason to suppose that the money is not bona fide the immigrant's own. That is a question for the officer and the Board to decide. I think it right to say that the newspaper statements on which the Question is apparently based omit all reference to the inquiry and investigation to which the stories set out therein were subjected by the officers and the Board, and by which it was shown that many of their salient features were incorrect. Further, in one case in which it is stated that a woman with a little girl was sent back sorrow stricken to Russia, she was, in fact, given leave to land in the United Kingdom. No useful purpose would be served by giving the names of the immigration officers or of the members of the Board. I may remind my hon. friend that the meetings of the Board are open to the Press, and I think that if the Press had attended these meetings the statements on which the Question is founded would have been of a different character.