A discussion on asylum seekers today must focus on certain mechanisms of exclusion practised by a number of European states and the costs associated with them. Ultimately this will lead us to ask, what price are we prepared to pay to maintain our borders? The mechanisms of exclusion addressed in this paper are deportation, detention and dispersal. Deportation, detention and dispersal have formed an occasional part of the migration regimes of European countries throughout the twentieth century, though they tended to be used in response to particular events or ‘crises’ such as war-time concerns over alien ‘spies’ or the arrival a significant number of refugees fleeing conflict or political upheavals.
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