No valuables seized from migrants in Denmark under new law

A law passed in Denmark two months ago that requires refugees and other migrants to hand over valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner ($1,500) has not resulted to a single seizure, police said Tuesday.

The law was intended to help cover migrants' housing and food costs while their cases are being processed but was also an attempt to reduce Denmark's appeal to migrants.

National Police spokesman Thomas Kristensen told the AP Tuesday that none of the migrants' assets were valued above the specified limit.

"Figuratively speaking, if there were a refugee with a suitcase full of jewelry, then I can imagine that we will take a closer look," Denmark's police union head Claus Oxfeldt told The Associated Press. "But honestly, the whole thing about the jewelry law has gone into an overdrive."

Human rights activists and artists had denounced the legislation as degrading and inhumane.

Danes also have to sell valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner before they can receive any government welfare benefits.

Some German states also take assets from refugees, in line with laws regulating Germans receiving social assistance, and Switzerland requires asylum-seekers to hand over cash of more than 1,000 francs ($996) for similar reasons.

Immigration Minister Inger Stoejberg of the center-right government has said "Denmark must become significantly less attractive for asylum-seekers."

The nation of 5.6 million people wedged between Germany and Sweden received about 20,000 asylum-seekers last year, a small number compared with its neighbors.

The Danish law was part of a raft of measures that included extending from one year to three the period that family members must wait before they can join a refugee in Denmark. Denmark already tightened its immigration laws last year, reducing benefits for asylum-seekers, shortening temporary residence permits and stepping up efforts to deport those whose applications are rejected.