HC Deb 09 July 1923 vol 166 cc945-6W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the number of British subjects who have been refused admittance to the United States of America during the last two weeks; are they being repatriated free of charge or have they to pay their return passage money; and can he make representations to the United States Government that immigrants who are refused admittance into the United States should be allowed to remain on the ship which brought them and be repatriated by the same shipping company, and not to be incarcerated on Ellis Island?


I have no information to give in reply to the first part of the question. Immigrants who are refused admission into the United States are, under United States law, repatriated by the shipping company which brought them, at the expense of that company. There are many difficulties in the way of giving effect to the suggestion contained in the last part of the question; the liners which carry these immigrants do not usually remain in harbour more than two or three days before starting on the homeward voyage. Immigrants who remained on the vessel and who had not succeeded in gaining admission to the United States before the expiration of the period would then be liable to be taken back to England against their wish. Nor would it be fair to impose on the shipping companies the responsibility of seeing that the immigrants did not go ashore without permission.


asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many British subjects are now under detention in Ellis Island; and how many are waiting to be shipped back to England?


The Secretary of State has not got this information. The hon. Member will realise that the number necessarily fluctuates almost daily.