European governments approve law to take valuables to help pay for asylum seekers.

On January 26, the Danish Parliament voted to give police the power to seize valuable assets from refugees.

When refugees enter the country, police will be allowed to search refugees and confiscate any items worth more than 10,000 kroners ($2,050 CAD) that are deemed non-essential. Items with sentimental value to the owner, such as wedding rings, will not be confiscated.

The procedure is intended to cover the cost of the state’s treatment of refugees in a similar fashion to the way Danish citizens receive welfare.

“We’re simply applying the same rules we apply to Danish citizens who wish to take money from the Danish government,” government spokesman Marcus Knuth told The Guardian.

“If you can pay for yourself, well then you should pay for yourself before the Danish welfare system does.”

~Marcus Knuth, government spokesman.

The confiscation is not only happening in Denmark, but in other countries across Europe. States in southern Germany have confiscated valuables and cash from €350 to €750 to help pay their asylum, arguing that refugees should use their resources before receiving aid from the state.

Stephan Dünnwald of the Bavarian Refugee Council said, “refugees get a receipt for whatever they have on them, and then that money is used for any expenses the state incurs . . . That’s part of German law – nothing to do with any new restrictions.”

Switzerland has also approved similar legislation that refugees must turn over assets worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs (1,385CAD), using the idea that refugees should contribute to the costs they generate to help pay their social aid.

Critics have condemned the law, saying that Europe now welcomes war refugees by taking their money and jewellery. Liberal Parliamentarians have also stated that the law prevents refugees from being united with their families for up to three years, leading some to believe that the laws are truly intended to keep refugees out of Europe.