This paper examines how addressing asylum issues has come to represent a particular position in political processes relating to refugee representation. It questions the discursive contexts that have emphasised particular neoliberal constructions of representation in relation to ‘voluntary’ or ‘forced’ migration. In particular, it highlights how political dialogue has to a large extent negatively positioned asylum seekers, through particular representations, which function to maintain hostile attitudes towards asylum seekers but fails to consider the relationships of power through which asylum issues are constructed. In representative terms, the paper draws attention to the way ‘illegality’ is produced and represented through state sanctioned policies of exclusion and an ever increasing ascendency in deportation trends and expulsions across European states. At the same time spaces for dialogue and deliberations relating to group rights and protections and a focus on human rights law is all too frequently eroded through the triumphs of liberalist ideology in the favouring of individual rights over a collective rights-based approach, often allowing for undemocratic cases of representation.