by Jacob Bojesson
Denmark passed a bill Tuesday to give authorities the right to seize cash, jewelry and other valuable items from arriving refugees in return for government social benefits while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.
The bill passed after a landslide 81-27 vote and will go into effect next week. It is meant to be a countermeasure to cover the costs of resettling immigrants in Denmark and deter more refugees from coming to the country. Any item valued at 3,000 Danish kroner — about $440 — or more could be confiscated. (RELATED: Pork Wins ‘Meatball War’ With Muslim Immigration In Danish City)
“People who have suffered tremendously, who have escaped war and conflict, who’ve literally walked hundreds of kilometers if not more and put their lives at risk by crossing the Mediterranean should be treated with compassion and respect, and within their full rights as refugees,” a spokesman for Ki-moon said in a statement.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said “it is perhaps the most misunderstood bill in Danish history,” arguing it is meant to create equal responsibility between Danes and migrants when it comes to receiving welfare.
Jewelry of sentimental value, such as wedding rings, are exempted from the law.