Germany joins Switzerland and Denmark in seizing refugees’ wealth to pay for their stay

Denmark and Switzerland are already going down this path and now southern German states have also started confiscating the wealth of those refugees applying for asylum to finance their stays in the country. It is difficult to argue against the concept of those with wealth paying for their upkeep. The principle that is being applied is said to be that personal wealth must be exhausted first before state aid becomes available. And I cannot see anything wrong with that principle.

In Denmark, valuable (but not personal) items with a value of above about $150 would be subject to seizure, as would sums of currencies above about $1500. In Switzerland it is planned that assets over about $1,000 would be subject to search and seizure. The threshold above which confiscation applies might seem low at first,  but it seems that receipts are being issued, and any wealth over and above what is needed for their upkeep will be returned to them. It is not quite the callous and heartless robbery of poverty stricken refugees as is being portrayed by some of the media.

The southern German state of Bavaria is following the Swiss example and plans to set the threshold for seizure at about €750 for those who have “dues outstanding”.

The Local(de)Germany’s southern states are confiscating cash and valuables from refugees after they arrive, authorities in Bavaria confirmed on Thursday.

“Cash holdings and valuables can be secured [by the authorities] if they are over €750 and if the person has an outstanding bill, or is expected to have one.” Authorities in Baden-Württemberg have a tougher regime, where police confiscate cash and valuables above €350.

The average amount per person confiscated by authorities in the southern states was “in the four figures,” Bild reported.

By confiscating valuables, the states are implementing federal laws, which require asylum seekers to use up their own resources before receiving state aid. “If you apply for asylum here, you must use up your income and wealth before receiving aid,” Aydan Özoguz, the federal government’s integration commissioner, told Bild.

“That includes, for example, family jewellery. Even if some prejudices persist – you don’t have it any better as an asylum seeker as someone on unemployment benefit,” Özoguz added.

In Germany even the Green party had no real objection to advance to this approach. The Left party had no arguments of any substance to put forward, but they objected anyway.

….. But there were few critics of the practice inside Germany.

Opposition Green party MP Volker Beck told Der Tagesspiegel that it was right for asylum applicants to pay for services to the extent they could. “Of course asylum seekers aren’t in a better position than those on unemployment benefits,” Beck said. “Asylum seekers must repay the costs of accommodation and care to the state.”

Only the Left party (Die Linke) criticized the confiscations, with MP Ulla Jelpke telling Der Tagesspiegel that “those who apply for asylum are exercising their basic rights [under the German Constititution].

“That must not – even if they are rejected – be tied up with costs,” she argued.

I cannot see that forcing those with wealth to pay for their own upkeep is any infringement of supposed Human Rights.

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