Illegal Immigrants.

Oral Answers to Questions — Palestine. – in the House of Commons on 1st March 1939.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Bennett Mr Ernest Bennett , Cardiff Central

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any legal proceedings are being taken against a body of Jewish immigrants, landed on 7th February from the Greek steamship "Artemisi" on the Palestine coast north of Jaffa, and against the agents who conveyed these illegal immigrants inland after their landing?

Mr. M. MacDonald:

The crew of the steamer in question, together with 17 passengers, have been arrested and are being prosecuted for offences against the provisions of the Customs and Immigration legislation before the Chief Magistrate at Tel Aviv to-day. It has not, so far, proved practicable to take any action against the local agents, but the feasibility of doing so is under review

Photo of Mr Ernest Bennett Mr Ernest Bennett , Cardiff Central

Will the ships be, or have they been, confiscated, under any provision of the Palestinian law?

Mr. MacDonald:

I should like to have notice of that question.

Photo of Hon. Ralph Beaumont Hon. Ralph Beaumont , Portsmouth Central

Will these illegal immigrants be deported?

Mr. MacDonald:

As I say, action is being taken against those who have been arrested. Pending the decision before the magistrates I cannot make any statement.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Why harry these unfortunate people?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crossley Mr Anthony Crossley , Stretford

Will the number of these illegal immigrants be taken into account when the numbers of legal immigrants are next considered?

Mr. MacDonald:

That matter will have to await consideration after the Palestine Conference.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

Has not the right hon. Gentleman's own Department caused these people to be in an illegal position?