17. Mr. PRESTON
asked the Home Secretary whether several aliens have recently evaded the aliens' officer and landed at Dover without permission: if so, what steps he proposes to take to remedy this; and whether aliens with first-class tickets find no difficulty in landing at Dover without attracting the attention of the immigration officer?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Shortt)
It is the fact that some of the aliens—principally persons who left this country under the Military Convention of Russia—who have recently succeeded in evading the law and in landing in this country without permission have stated that they landed at Dover without accepting these statements. I am taking all possible steps to prevent such evasions of the law, whether at Dover or elsewhere. The provisions regulating the landing of aliens 1887 in the United Kingdom apply and are enforced in respect of all alien passengers irrespective of the class by which they travel.
18. Mr. PRESTON
asked the Home Secretary whether he will state what special steps have been taken since the passing of the Aliens Restriction Act to keep undesirable aliens out of this country; and how many aliens since the passing of the Act, having evaded the immigration officer, have subsequently been arrested by the police for entering this country without permission?
§ Mr. SHORTT
The staff of immigration officers dealing with passengers has been increased, and is about to be further increased, and all passengers landing are subjected to thorough scrutiny. The people who evade the Act are persons who are stowed on board the ships and slip on shore after all the passengers are landed, generally at night. I cannot give exact figures, but the number who escape is very small in proportion to the general traffic. A good many have been caught and sent back—I have just heard for instance of one case where 10 stowaways were found on board a single ship—but it is, of course, physically impossible for 160 aliens officers to watch day and night all the ships that come into our ports, and we must rely for the effective enforcement of the Act largely on the action of the magistrates. The penalty for evasion is a fine of £100 or six months imprisonment, and all persons found to have landed without leave are prosecuted. I cannot give the figures asked, but in London, I am informed, 110 have been prosecuted.
§ Sir R. COOPER
Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that it is not possible under his Regulations for aliens to come freely into this country, if they hold first-class tickets?
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Are there still provisions requiring aliens to be registered when they come to reside here?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is the practice of one of our Police Court Magistrates, when aliens who have landed without permission are brought before him by the police, to impose a fine of only £3, and does he consider this a sufficiently adequate penalty to deter other undesirable aliens from entering the country without permission?