Denmark is being forced to defend a proposed law allowing officials to confiscate migrants’ valuables which has drawn comparisons with Nazi practices.
The proposed law introduced to Parliament earlier this month would allow authorities to search migrants entering Denmark for valuables which could then be confiscated. The proposal is almost certain to pass into law in January as part of an asylum policy reform, reports The Washington Post.
An email from Denmark’s Ministry of Integration explained:
“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.”
The Integration Ministry has set out some further details, explaining that police would be allowed to seize valuables and cash amounts they deem expensive enough saying: “the new rule on seizure will only apply to assets of a considerable value.”
Migrants will be able to “keep assets which are necessary to maintain a modest standard of living, e.g. watches and mobile phones. Furthermore, assets which have a certain personal, sentimental value to a foreigner will not, as a main rule, be seized unless they have [considerable] value.”
Zachary Whyte, an asylum and integration researcher at the University of Copenhagen, says Denmark’s proposal “has been branded petty and cruel, and some opponents have asked whether the government would also be taking out asylum seekers’ gold fillings.”
According to The Washington Post: “The idea of seizing jewelry from people who are fleeing has a particularly bitter connotation in Europe, where the Nazis confiscated large amounts of gold and other valuables from Jews and others.”
Danish Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg yesterday took to Facebook to defend the policy, writing:
“I can see that some foreign media are pouring scorn over (the fact) that we in the future may withdraw asylum seekers’ valuables and demand that they should pay for their stay in asylum centres themselves.
“There is no reason to criticise, since it is already the case that if you as a Dane have valuables for more than 10,000 kroner ($1,450, 1,340 euros) it may be required that this is sold before you can receive unemployment benefits.”
Despite the fact the Danish government says their intention is to find funding for long-term integration programmes for migrants, it is thought the law is, in reality, more about sending a signal to potential migrants than supporting those who have already arrived.
As Breitbart London previously reported, the Danish approach to limiting migration numbers has included publishing advertisements in Lebanese newspapers telling them to stay away with the warning that the country has recently halved the level of benefits received by asylum seekers.
That policy is thought to have had some effect, as Middle Eastern migrants are reportedly rejecting Denmark as a country in which to seek asylum, claiming that “salaries” offered to “refugees” are not as high as in other countries such as Sweden and Finland.