HC Deb 17 February 1911 vol 21 cc1511-2W

asked the Home Secretary with regard to 505 alien immigrants admitted to this country in 1906 on the ground that they were political or religious refugees, with regard to 43 such immigrants admitted in 1907, to 20 admitted in 1908, to 30 admitted in 1909, and to 5 admitted in 1910, how many of these immigrants proved that they were seeking admission to this country solely to avoid prosecution or punishment on religious or political grounds, or for an offence of a political character or persecution involving danger of imprisonment or danger to life and limb on account of religious belief, in accordance with the requirements of The Aliens Act, 1905; and how many were admitted under the instruction from the Secretary of State to immigration officers, dated 9th March, 1906, relieving such immigrants from the necessity of proving that they are political or religious refugees as contemplated by the Act?


The instruction referred to was to the effect that alien immigrants claiming in certain circumstances to come within the provisions of the Act in regard to political or religious refugees should be given the benefit of the doubt. No records have been, or could be, kept differentiating between cases where the immigrant produced evidence in support of his claim which might be taken as positive proof, and cases where his representations, falling short of complete proof, nevertheless enabled the immigration officer or board to give him the benefit of the doubt.