The field of security is largely controlled by elites, who by virtue of their authority are able to create an image of an enemy, which is largely independent of the objective significance of a threat. However, a narrow focus on speech acts and discourse analysis to study such processes of securitization is inherently inadequate. This article provides a panoramic account of Greek migration politics during the 1990s. It shows that securitization can be discursive or non-discursive, pre-mediated or subconscious, and beneficial or detrimental for securitizing actors. Elite interviews and an in-depth analysis of contextual factors help make sense of these dynamics.