The Exclusionary Politics of Asylum (Migration Minorities and Citizenship)
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This critique of the securitization and criminalization of asylum seeking challenges the claim that asylum seekers 'threaten' receiving states. It analyzes recent policy developments in relation to their wider historical, political and European contexts and argues that the UK response effectively renders asylum seekers as scapegoats.
analysis draws on primary and secondary material, and explores immigration and asylum discourse during four periods: (a) the 1950s–1960s; (b) the 1970s–early 1980s; (c) the mid1980s–mid-1990s; and (d) 1997 onwards. Showing how processes of racialisation, criminalisation and securitisation tend to predominate where there is a dislocation of governance and belonging, it suggests that the exclusionary politics of asylum needs to be understood in part as a reactive reconstruction of the territorial
asylum-seekers-cum-illegal-immigrants. It argues that this reading of dispersal enables us to see how exclusionary operations of securitisation and criminalisation become embedded at a much more diffuse level throughout the UK, as asylum ‘support’ is engaged as asylum policing. The second part of the chapter goes on to consider the effects of such a process from the position of the asylum seeker. It is here that the critique of dispersal is further developed. Showing how dispersal tends to
Immigration Officers have legal powers to detain them and remove them from the country’ (IND, 2005d). Although deterrence is explicitly linked to detention, deportation, ‘illegal immigration’ and the role of immigration officers in this statement, the fact that the NASS, dispersal and asylum seeking are located as part of this institutional structure is telling. Indeed, dispersal was explicitly articulated as a deterrent policy by the former Home Secretary Jack Straw when it was first introduced,
147 it is only in moving carefully beyond a territorial frame that the contending engagements of ‘undesirables’ can be perceived in political terms. This chapter takes a first step beyond a territorial frame of reference by exploring how the political engagements of asylum seekers qua irregular migrants (see Chapter 1) critically interrupt the exclusionary operations of state governance and national belonging. It does this both through exploring the exclusionary production of abject spaces, as
various others in distinctly mobile terms. Let us consider this further. Mutual contention can refer to a complex range of political engagements, but at base comes down to a constitutive tension between contestation and solidarity, or between disagreement and equality (Rancière, 1999). This tension can be conceived of as mitigating against exclusionary politics, which entail oppositional relations that preclude the political engagement required to come together in solidaristic relations of