Previous research has demonstrated a need for practice with unaccompanied asylum seeking children to improve, but while the impact of immigration control is often alluded to, it has rarely been explored in depth. This article reviews a range of literature to explore the ideologies of immigration control and child welfare, and their impact upon legislation, practice, and the experiences of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. The findings demonstrate that unaccompanied asylum seeking children inhabit a contested space between these ideologies, which hold power not only though legislation, but also through media and political discourse. This article therefore argues that ideologies of immigration control impact upon the lives of unaccompanied asylum seeking children with consequences for their health and wellbeing. It also argues that critiques of practice should consider the ideological spaces in which practice occurs. This has implications for research that may aim to recommend improvements for practice in the future.