Denmark has approved a law that will allow authorities to seize cash and valuables from refugees.
The bill was approved 81 to 27 votes.
Asylum seekers will be allowed to keep 10,000 kroner, but anything else will be confiscated. The number follows Danish welfare rules in which citizens must sell assets worth more than 10,000 kroner before receiving state benefits.
Despite fierce criticism, Danish politicians asserted that the measure is "about creating equality between migrants and Danes."
With refugees inundating Europe, some countries have proven themselves to be welcoming and hospitable (Germany), while others…not so much. Denmark has been notably poor in its refugee stance, previously publishing ads in Lebanese newspapers discouraging any refugees from coming to Denmark.
Its Parliament will now most likely pass a new law that will allow Danish authorities to confiscate cash, jewelry, and other valuables from refugees.
The Danish Ministry of Integration told the Washington Post that, “The bill presented on 10 December 2015 provides the Danish authorities with the power to search clothes and luggage of asylum seekers — and other migrants without a permit to stay in Denmark — with a view to finding assets which may cover the expenses.”
Essentially, any valuables that may have “considerable value” are free to be taken by Danish police. Though the government claims it will be to cover refugee expenditures, the measure also sends a clear message from the government: refugees are not welcome.
Denmark has already cut social benefits to refugees by 50 percent, and even though Sweden also increased its refugee restrictions, Denmark emphasized that their laws were even more stringent; according to Zachary Whyte, an asylum and integration researcher at the University of Copenhagen, “This is in line with a general Danish asylum policy of trying to maintain and communicate a less welcoming position to refugees than its neighboring countries.”
Denmark’s ministry disputes such accusations, claiming “refugees who have been granted a residence permit can make full use of the free Danish school, education (including tertiary education) and health system on the same level as everyone else in Denmark… The aim of the Danish integration effort is to support refugees in order for them to become participating and financially independent citizens.”
This integration is not possible if Denmark is going to seize the few valuables refugees may actually possess and generally emanate a frigid attitude toward refugees.
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