Thursday, January 14, 2016

Denmark Moves to Require Refugees to Hand Over Valuables

Looks like the Danish Leadership is astute enough to figure out that they are broke. The Danish Government no longer has the money to dole out the generous welfare benefits to native ethnic Danes it did until recently, it certainly cannot afford to support all manner of foreign free loaders wanting to settle in their country and live off the government. Naturally the Leftists are very unhappy with the Danish Government for demonstrating rational and responsible frugality in this matter.

Under a proposed law, asylum seekers who arrive with more than about $1,450 in cash would have to give up belongings like gold and jewelry to finance their stay.

LONDON — Denmark, which once prided itself on its openness to foreigners, has sent another message to migrants in recent months: Think twice before coming. It took out newspaper ads in Lebanon informing would-be asylum seekers that welfare benefits for refugees had been cut in half. Its prime minister warned that the 1951 United Nations treaty governing the rights of refugees might have to be revised. And last week, it imposed temporary controls along its border with Germany.
In a move that has outraged humanitarian activists and even raised the ire of United Nations officials, Denmark is now poised to pass a law that would require refugees to hand over valuables, including gold or jewelry, to help pay for the costs of lodging them. Under the proposed legislation, asylum seekers who enter the country with more than 10,000 kroner, or about $1,450, in cash would have to finance their own stay.
Critics say the measures evoke Europe’s darkest hours, when the Nazis seized valuables from Jews during the Holocaust. The government has amended the bill so that the police will not be allowed to confiscate “objects with sentimental value,” like wedding and engagement rings, and family portraits. A vote on the measures is scheduled for Jan. 26. Approval, with wide cross-party support, is expected.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen defended the bill this week, noting that Danish citizens face similar requirements: They must use their own resources if they have more than 10,000 kroner before they can qualify for welfare. “This is probably the most misunderstood proposal in the history of Denmark,” he was quoted as saying by Politiken, a Danish daily newspaper. “Looking at the debate,” he said, “you almost get the impression that we are going to turn people upside down to see if we can shake the last coin out of their pockets. That is completely distorted and wrong.”
The proposed law comes as even the most hospitable countries in Europe, citing economic and security concerns, have been tightening their borders against the flow of thousands of asylum seekers. Fears are growing that terrorists are entering Europe masquerading as refugees. Finland has called on asylum seekers to work for free, and Sweden last week introduced identity checks for travelers arriving from Denmark, prompting Denmark to do the same along its border with Germany.
In Denmark, as in countries such as France and Sweden, a far-right populist party, the Danish People’s Party, has been attracting voters by railing against immigration. Mr. Rasmussen’s governing center-right party, which does not have a majority in Parliament, often needs its support to pass legislation.
Analysts said the recent moves by Denmark reflected a concerted effort to make the country less attractive for refugees. Among the provisions of the bill is a requirement that asylum-seekers wait three years before they can apply to bring their families to Denmark – a measure that human rights activists have criticized as unusually cruel.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has called the proposed legislation an affront to refugees’ dignity and expressed fears that the introduction of restrictions in Denmark would send a worrying signal to other countries. In a statement this month, before the bill was modified, the commission said it feared that the measures “could fuel fear, xenophobia and similar restrictions that would reduce — rather than expand — the asylum space globally and put refugees in need at life-threatening risks.”
Jens Rohde, a Danish member of the European Parliament, said in an interview on Wednesday that the bill represented an image of Denmark that he did not recognize. In December, he left Mr. Rasmussen’s center-right party, Venstre, to join a center-left party to protest the bill, saying that Venstre had lost its way and that it was in thrall to the far right.
“Even with the latest changes to the bill, the legislation still paints a bad image of Denmark in the international community and I don’t recognize myself or the Danish people in this bill,” Mr. Rohde said. “The bill is less horrible than before, but still undignified.”
The bill has had particular resonance in Denmark because the country has historically been known for its tolerance and generosity. When the Nazis decided to deport Danish Jews in 1943, Danish citizens, with their country under occupation, managed to save most of the country’s 7,800 Jews by smuggling them to neighboring Sweden. Denmark also took in a large number of refugees during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
Last year, Denmark received 21,000 asylum seekers, according to the Danish Refugee Council. Sweden, in contrast, received about 163,000 asylum seekers, and Germany was expected to have received more than a million, the council said.
Jakob Nielsen, the editor of Politiken’s online edition, said it was paradoxical that Denmark was trying to make the country less attractive for immigrants. “Danes are known for being some of the happiest people on Earth, with one of the most generous welfare states, and now the government is trying to worsen our image to give the message: Refugees, don’t come here.”

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