The Danish parliament passed a bill Tuesday that allows law enforcement officials to confiscate cash and other assets from migrants in an effort to offset the cost of letting them live within Denmark’s borders. However, Denmark is not the first or only European country asking that refugees turn over their valuables as pay for their stay.
Under the new law, police will be able to search migrants belongings and seize cash or valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner — $1,450, reports the BBC. According to the legislation, these assets will be used to pay the cost of food and shelter. While assets with sentimental value such as wedding rings are exempt from this rule, some are criticizing this practice.
Upon arrival in the country, refugees are required to turn over assets worth more than $983. In 2015, Swiss authorities seized about $210,000 from 112 refugees. According to Switzerland’s Secretariat for Migration, this money is used to cover the cost of accommodating the migrants. However, if a migrant leaves within seven months of arrival, they can get their money back.
There are several reports that in the last three years, the Dutch have claimed over $700,000 from refugees to cover the cost of their stay. Refugees are asked to turn over their assets if they exceed $6403 for a single person and 12,816 for a family.
While Germany continues to have an open door policy toward migrants, there has been some backlash to accommodating more refugees. This has resulted in resistance from municipalities including Bravaria, which sent migrants on a bus directly to Angela Merkel herself. Bavaria, along with the Baden-Wuttenberg region also seized cash and valuables more than $810 and $378 respectively.