This study examines speeches in the European Parliament relating to asylum. Conceptually, it tests hypotheses concerning the relation between national parties and Members of European Parliament. The computer-based content analysis method Wordfish is used to examine 876 speeches from 2004 to 2014, scaling Members of European Parliament along a unidimensional policy space. Debates on asylum predominantly concern positions for or against European Union security measures. Surprisingly, national party preferences for European Union integration were not the dominant factor. The strongest predictors of Members of European Parliament's positions are their national parties’ general ‘right-left’ preferences, and duration of European Union membership. Generally, Members of European Parliament from Central and Eastern Europe and the European People's Party take up pro-security stances. Wordfish was effective and valid, confirming the relevance of automated content analysis for studying the European Union.