Denmark Proposes To Seize Valuables Of Migrants Who Have Already Lost A Lot

The Associated Press reports that Denmark hopes to deter migrants from entering their country by seizing any valuables worth more than $1,500. Officials say that such laws will help to cover their food costs and housing as they analyze their cases one-by-one in Copenhagen.

This proposal is expected to be approved by Parliament. Human rights activist have expressed their dissent for the potential legislation stating that it's cruel and degrading.

Activists also claim that Denmark seizing valuables, as such, is no way to treat people who have just fled war and misery.

Refugees from Syria hoping to receive asylum in Denmark at the border. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Refugees from Syria hoping to receive asylum in Denmark at the border. [Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

Officials of the Denmark Government say that the valuable-seizing laws would be no different for anyone else, however their rhetoric seems to imply otherwise--specifically noting that Denmark must become less attractive to "asylum-seekers."

They also stated that "fewer refugees would mean better opportunities to integrate immigrants who are already in Denmark," the AP reports.

Nevertheless, this has led officials to believe that Denmark may be practicing exclusion and disenfranchising laws towards migrants of war-torn countries.

Some other statistics, which also imdicate so, is the amount of migrants that Denmark has accepted in general. Germany and Sweden have been overall welcoming of migrants.

Sweden has received applications for 163,000 migrants--whereas Germany reviewed a whopping 1.1 million. Denmark, on-the-other-hand, had only a mere 20,000 migrants who applied for asylum in contrast.

This could simply mean that migrants just haven't applied for asylum in the Jutland Peninsula Country. But the proposed valuable-seizure laws sprinkled on top compels many to think otherwise--and justifiably so.

Especially since Denmark has already been tightening its immigration laws since 2002. These rules and restrictions included the following.

  • reducing benefits for asylum-seekers
  • shortening temporary residence permits
  • and stepping up efforts to deport those whose applications are rejected
Danish officials have also gone on record, defending their actions, saying that the welcoming attitudes of their neighboring countries could put pressure on their own welfare systems. If that were to happen, then current citizens would protest.

Pro valuable-seizure politicians also make the argument that the system is necessary in order for refugees to self sustain themselves if they're to live in Denmark. And to let such a high influx of migrants in without those measures, would fail everyone otherwise.

refugees boarding a train during the immigration process [image via Getty Images]
Refugees boarding a train during the immigration process [Image via Getty Images]

A lot Social Democrats in Denmark surprisingly endorsed the movement to seize valuables by supporting many of its amendments. With that bipartisan barrier removed--more politicians will lean in the direction of passing the proposed laws, thus making it more likely to pass.

Some liberal party members have quit the party in protest against Denmark wanting to seize valuables. They also detest that doing so puts a huge blemish on Denmark's reputation on the international spectrum.

Yet those pleas go unheard as the consensus still seem to be in approval of seizing assets. "I think many come here for the large benefits, so this is a way for them to pay at the entrance. They do cost the society some money," said Susanne Petersen, a 46-year-old bank clerk and citizen of Denmark.

And speaking of the international spectrum--the U.N. does not approve of Denmark's valuable seizing strategies either. William Spindler, U.N. refugee spokesman, criticized the plan.

He said that refugees entering Europe on rickety boats have essentially lost their lives and in some cases, have literally the lives of their loved ones.

"It is hard to believe that Denmark is seriously considering taking away from them the few belongings that they have managed to take with them," he said.

Michala C. Bendixen, of Refugees Welcome said any income from seizing valuables wouldn't go very far in covering the 200,000-kroner ($29,000 USD) annual cost of an asylum-seeker in Denmark anyway.

Bendixen scrutinized Denmark's decisions via Twitter.

She also reports that Afghans and Iraqis are rejected more, suggesting xenophobic attitudes towards them being the true ideology behind the proposals.

As she simply put it, "The real message here is to scare people away."

The Danish government even went as far as to post ads in Lebanese newspapers to inform potential migrants of their proposed seizure laws and restrictions.

Do you think that Denmark is going out of their way to keep migrants out by seizing valuables?

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]