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Politics of Exception and Unease: Immigration, Asylum and Terrorism in Parliamentary Debates in the UK

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Abstract

This article analyses how the British political elite has securitised migration and asylum since 9/11 by looking at when and how parliamentary debates linked counter-terrorism to immigration and/or asylum. The findings suggest that there is considerable reluctance within the political elite to introduce or especially sustain the connection between migration and terrorism too intensely in public debate. The parliamentary debates also show that for understanding the securitising of migration and asylum one cannot focus exclusively on the main security framing that is found in counter-terrorism debates, which we name ‘the politics of exception’. There is at least one other format, which we call ‘the politics of unease’, that is central to how the British political elite securitises migration and asylum, and contests it, in the public realm.

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