January 27, 2016

Cardin Statement on Danish Parliament Approving Seizure of Refugee Assets by Police

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding a recently enacted Danish law that authorizes police to search asylum seekers entering the country and confiscate any non-essential items that do not have any sentimental value to the owner valued at more than 10, 000 kroner, which is equivalent to just under $1,500.     

“In the seven years leading up to World War II, Denmark took in nearly 7,500 Jewish refugees. Unlike in other western European countries, the Danish government did not require Jews to register their property and assets, to identify themselves, or to give up apartments, homes, and businesses. When Germany sought to deport Jews from Denmark in 1943, Danish authorities, institutions, and citizens helped Jews find sanctuary and resisted German efforts to send Jews to their death. That Danish example has been held up ever since as a beacon of hope, and an example of the resolve that protects the vulnerable and helps topple tyrants.

“Nearly 75 years later, the Danish parliament faces a similar character test.  Tuesday’s vote in the Danish Parliament to approve a law permitting Danish authorities to search refugees seeking asylum at its borders, and to seize any assets greater than approximately $1,500, has turned the notion of Danish virtue into a message of intolerance.  The law is unnecessarily harsh. Search and seizure upon arrival signals unwelcome.  Mandating a three-year delay for family reunification signals a worrying slide towards xenophobia.”

“The Danish parliament can and must do better.  The influx of refugees from the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere are challenging European cohesion and unity, but the challenge is solvable and surmountable.  And those solutions should ensure that human dignity is maintained, both inside Denmark and at its borders.” 

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Press Contact

adam_sharon@foreign.senate.gov