Denmark proposes taking refugees' valuables to pay for asylum costs

Syrian refugees wait for mattresses, blankets and other supplies.

Syrian refugees wait for mattresses, blankets and other supplies.  (AP)

With a flood of refugees streaming into Europe, Denmark’s government said Tuesday it had enough support for a plan to seize migrants’ valuables in order to pay for their stays in asylum centers.

"The government, the Social Democrats, the Danish People's Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People's Party have agreed to amend the bill concerning valuables," a government statement said, according to AFP.

Wedding rings, engagement rings, family portraits, “badges of honor” and other sentimental items would be exempt from the measure. The proposed law would let authorities take away valuables worth about $1,500 or more in order to help bear the burden of housing costs. The value of eligible property was raised from an initial $437 in order to gain more widespread support for the measure.

The proposal is just one part of a larger immigration package the Danish parliament is due to begin debating on Wednesday. A delay on some family reunifications is also part of the plan. A vote is set for Jan. 26.

The U.N. refugee agency criticized the proposed move last week, saying it was “a deeply concerning response to humanitarian needs” and “an affront” to the “dignity” of refugees, according to Reuters.

More than a million people have gushed into European countries, primarily fleeing war-torn Syria, but also other conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa.

What was initially viewed as a primarily humanitarian issue has become increasingly focused on security and economics. Refugees have been accused of mass sexual assaults and Islamic terror attacks in numerous countries.