Denmark adopts controversial law to seize asylum seekers' valuables


Denmark adopts controversial law to seize asylum seekers’ valuables

Copenhagen, Denmark (CNN)Danish lawmakers voted Tuesday in favor of controversial legislation empowering authorities to seize cash and valuables from asylum seekers to help cover their expenses.The law was passed in parliament by 81 votes to 27, with one abstention.
The passing of the so-called jewelry bill allows the seizure of valuables worth more than 10,000 Danish kroner (about $1,453).

Items of “special sentimental value” such as “wedding rings, engagement rings, family portraits, decorations and medals” are exempted, according to the Danish Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing. But “watches, mobile phones and computers” can be confiscated, it says.

The legislation has been criticized across the political spectrum, appalling many in this northern European nation, which has a longstanding global reputation for tolerance and promoting liberal, social democratic values.
Rights group Amnesty International slammed the law, saying in a statement that it reflected a “dismal race to the bottom” by European countries in response to the migrant crisis.

“To prolong the suffering of vulnerable people who have been ripped apart from their families by conflict or persecution is plain wrong,” John Dalhuisen, the group’s Europe and Central Asia director, said in a statement.
“Today’s meanspirited vote in Danish parliament seeks not only to pilfer the possessions refugees cling to, but also to needlessly lengthen their separation from their loved ones.”

Denmark does this to ALL welfare recipients, their own citizens. In Denmark you cannot receive welfare payments if your assets are worth over a certain amount and if you still require welfare assistance the State seizes your assets over that amount and sells it. The funds raised from the sale go towards their welfare budget.

They are asking of the refugees what they ask of their own citizens.

Here in Australia if you have over a certain amount in bank accounts, superannuation and/or assets you cannot qualify to receive welfare payments. The State doesn’t seize the assets it just tells you that you do not qualify for welfare payments. e.g. a Single person that has over $5000 in their bank account does not qualify for welfare payments. Different benchmarks apply for married/defacto couples and couples with children etc.

Generally that is how it works here in the U.S. too.

There’s a difference between welfare recipients and refugees though. Welfare is designed to help those who aren’t making ends meet until such time as they can, and sufficient assets can be said to either be a sign that you can make ends meet, or that you are unwisely using welfare funds. Perhaps things are different in Denmark, but in the US at least, people have to apply for welfare - they have a choice, and if they begin to make sufficient money, they can stop receiving welfare.

Whereas refugees were run out of their homes. They didn’t merely choose to mis-spend welfare money on fancy computers and jewelry, they legitimately had computers and jewelry, and generally a home and a job, and had to flee with what they could carry. To take even these last few possessions as they enter is just cruel. If a state wants to ensure that the aid that they give refugees goes to necessities, that is one thing, but to take the last remnants they have of a stable home is indefensible.

I can see one immediate advantage to that and that is seizing people’s mobile phones. With ISIS members using the refugee stream as a trojan horse, this could cut them off from communication with ISIS (how many people actually remember the phone numbers they enter into their mobile phones after they’ve entered them?) not to mention gives the authorities access to the info on the mobile devices to help them fight terror.

If you are an ISIS soldier and your only way of communicating with your fellow ISIS soldiers is a phone number, I believe you will remember the number, or have it written down somewhere else. And you can’t just treat the refugees as criminals and take their phones when they haven’t committed any crime.

If, as another person pointed out, this is standard procedure for Denmark to seize valuable from people seeking welfare then there is nothing wrong with it- in fact, it would be wrong for them to apply a different standard to assylym seekers than to their own citizens.

Immigrants aren’t necessary seeking welfare. Besides that, it is NOT standard procedure to seize mobile phones from welfare seekers in Denmark. A mobile phone is not considered so valuable that you can’t have one if you are on welfare. A car can for example be, unless you’re living on the country side and it can be necessary for you to have one to get to work.

Okay, well, I can only form an opinion based on the information at hand. If these immigrants are being treated the same as citizens, I see no problem with it. If not, there may be more to discuss.

A lot of the political problems arise because a very significant proportion of the people turning up are not refugees - the EU Vice President said today that 6/10 are economic migrants and many, of course, suspect that it’s a considerably greater proportion.

While people may have one attitude to Syrian families fleeing the war - young men from elsewhere who have passed through a number of safe places to end up in Northern Europe with expectations of jobs, homes and cash are not going to get the same kind of political enthusiasm.

Only refugees are granted asylum, not economic migrants.

Asylum is not automatic - there’s a process.


In Denmark you also have to apply for welfare. It is not an automatic right. There are prerequisites which must be met. Owning assets over a certain level is one disqualifier. Why should a unemployed Dane who has been made redundant through circumstances out of his control be held to different standards to an asylum seeker who is not a citizen?

FYI these asylum seekers have not been “legally” and “formally” assessed as being “genuine” refugees yet. Some are economic migrants not genuine refugees fleeing a warzone.

I think it is completly wrong to take anyone’s cellphone(except criminals), regardless if they are citizens or not. How are they supposed to contact their families and friends? How are they supposed to call 112 if an emergency would occur? Cellphones aren’t that expensive.

Do they seriously seize the computers, mobile phones, etc. of the poor to allow them to receive welfare? That is not okay. Mobile phones and computers are pretty ubiquitous and important nowadays. Is the value cap of the objects the same as the cap for the refugees ($1,500)?

An economic migrant is still a political migrant. I don’t understand why fleeing poverty is less acceptable than fleeing war.

Well, since I come from a generation that didn’t have cell phones I guess I don’t see it as a necessity. A cell phone is a luxury, still, even in this day and age. And I say that as someone who has no landline any longer and only has a cell phone- but the reality is it would be cheaper to have a landline and get rid of the cell phone, so it’s luxury.

I don’t know about in Europe, but in the US we have a huge disparity in cell phone costs. An iPhone or high end Android might cost you about $600 and in that case I’d wonder why you needed welfare if you could afford a $600 phone plus the monthly expense (around $60-$120 in the US). A burner phone might cost you $20 and you refill the minutes when you need them. So I guess it depends.

I think a smartphone is more economic than a landline since in a smartphone you can have internet. If you don’t have a smartphone, then you must have a computer, since the authorities want you to seek for jobs regularly if you are on welfare, and you can find many jobs online.

Besides, if we were to take the immigrants cell phone and give out landline phones instead, that would probably end up a way more expensive(paper work+second hand cell phones aren’t worth that much).

Migrating for economic reasons is okay when done legally. Most countries you can migrate as economic migrant via legal means. I grew up in poverty in a third world country, I studied hard and won scholarships to study abroad and eventually migrated to Australia “legally”.

My relatives stayed on and broke through the poverty barrier and worked to improve the state of the poor in the country. Primary, secondary, tertiary education and healthcare is free and the economy is booming. In fact they are now in a country whose economic growth doubles that of Australia. The country is moving from third world to second world. Can’t improve if the population leaves for no reason other than poverty.

Economic migrants are not “refugees” as classified under the UN convention. Countries are not required to take them in and provide them welfare. Asylum seekers fleeing warzones on the other hand are a different kettle of fish.

A countries first duty is to it’s own citizens who are living in poverty, homeless etc?

So if you don’t manage to get in legally you can just suffer in poverty? I can sympathise with those in poverty who attempt to get into other countries illegally.

What country do you come from, if it isn’t rude to ask? Economic issues can’t always be hard simply by “hard work” or whatever anyway. They aren’t really caused by nor can they be solved by any individuals. I agree that if everyone leaves a country the economic issues won’t be solved, but that isn’t an argument for suffering under poor economic conditions.

I don’t care what the UN says, I wouldn’t expect them to acknowledge economic migration anyway, and countries are setting very arbitrary quotas on the amount of asylum seekers they take in anyway. They aren’t compelled to take any they don’t want.

Sure, but none of them do. That’s a catchphrase for nationalism. The west could easily solve all of its issues with poverty and homelessness with its own people and still provide for refugees if it wanted to.

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