In the Guardian, there is a profile of a report by the Institute of Race Relations concerning the condition of asylum seekers in Britian.  Drive to Desperate Measures documents violence, much of it self-inflicted, that occurs in detention centers.  As Melania McFadyean notes, the rise in suicides among asylum seekers reflects their growing desperation as new legislation makes finding sanctuary in Britain more elusive.  She points out, however, that these conditions are being exacerbated by the profit motives of the private corporations that run these facilities.

Although some would consider asylum seekers a class apart from illegal immigrants–they are victims of persecution, and their plight is judged as a matter of diplomacy and politics rather than naturalization–their treatment can be similarly desperate.  It is questionable that the economic motives faced by one group have no political basis, and vice-versa.   The threat of deporation can be seen as a matter of life and death. Refugees enjoy more legitimacy that illegal immigrants, but their lives are perhaps more circumscribed as they await judgment of their fate.

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