Communities across Denmark have complained they do not have enough resources to cope with the huge influx of migrants into their country.
According to survey by television station TV2, many local town halls say they cannot handle the costs associated with housing, benefits and interpreter fees for the many migrants they have been forced to take in.
Benedikte Kiær, mayor of the town of Helsingør, told the channel: “We are having serious problems housing all the refugees that are coming to us. The support we are receiving from the state is far from sufficient.”
The Local reports that under Danish law, the central government covers rental costs for migrants housed in private residences up to 2,100 kroner, leaving the local government to cover the rest. As this figure is only equivalent to roughly £208 ($308), town halls are often left with substantial bills for migrant housing.
Breitbart London reported last week how Denmark is considering a new law allowing authorities to confiscate valuables from migrants in order to cover costs for housing them.
The country’s Ministry of Integration said in an email:
“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.”
They added that the rules will only apply to “assets of a considerable value” and 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.”
The plan has generated considerable controversy, however, with Zachary Whyte, an asylum researcher at the University of Copenhagen, saying 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” – a reference to the holocaust.
Integration Minister Inger Stoejberg defended the policy, however, taking to Facebook to say:
“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.”