Over 3 years, Denmark seizes 25,000 euros from migrants

Denmark has seized just over 25,000 euros from migrants arriving in the country in the three years since passing a controversial law allowing for the confiscation of valuables, police said Thursday.

Since the law was passed on January 26, 2015, officials have seized the equivalent of some 186,800 kroner (25,000 euros/$28,400) in cash as well as a car worth around 100,000 kroner, but they have not seized any jewellery.

Over that period, there have been 10 occasions when officials have applied the law, which allows for the confiscation of cash exceeding 10,000 kroner or objects of the same value.

The aim is to cover the individual’s costs while any asylum request is examined.

The legislation is just one of several legal measures aimed at dissuading migrants from going to Denmark, but one which has been sharply criticised abroad.

“It’s a question of principle: if you can help pay for your own needs, you should,” Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Stojberg told the Danish news agency Ritzau.

“It’s true for Danes and it’s true for refugees who come here.”

Engagement and wedding rings were initially included in the law but the government backtracked after the proposal sparked uproar, with the Washington Post comparing it to the Nazis’ theft of valuables from the Jewish community.

In December, Denmark received some 180 asylum applications — the lowest number since 2008.

In 2018, some 3,500 people sought asylum in Denmark, compared to more than 21,000 in 2015.