Frosty Denmark May Seize Syrian Refugees' Assets

Proposal would allow authorities to seize cash, valuables
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2015 12:04 PM CST
Frosty Denmark May Seize Syrian Refugees' Assets
Refugees and migrants are seen in southern Denmark while making their way to Sweden on Sept. 9, 2015.   (Ernst van Norde/Polfoto via AP)

Denmark is looking to get tough with Syrian refugees via a controversial proposal being considered that would allow the Danish government "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," the Danish ministry of integration says, adding "the new rule on seizure will only apply to assets of a considerable value." Sentimental items like wedding rings could be seized along with funds above $435, but watches, phones, and other "assets which are necessary to maintain a modest standard of living" would be protected. The Washington Post reports the proposal is "almost certain to pass parliament" in January, though the Local says it's "unlikely that it will make it into law in its present form."

Denmark is generally frosty to Syrian refugees and recently slashed social benefits for the group by up to 50%. A law already in place requires affluent refugees to pay for their stay, says the integration ministry, noting too many refugees "put pressure on the Danish society." But "it is pretty telling about the current Danish policies that [some] are not quite sure whether this is a hoax or not," says an asylum expert. The proposal "has been branded petty and cruel, and some opponents have asked whether the government would also be taking out asylum seekers' gold fillings," he adds, noting the law would be useless since "asylum seekers generally do not arrive in Denmark with large amounts of cash and jewelry." Earlier this month, Denmark's justice minister suggested the law would be used in "a situation in which a man comes along with a case full of diamonds and asks for protection," per Vox. (Read more Denmark stories.)

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