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German State Tells Refugees To Pay Up If They Want To Stay

DAVOS-MEETING/RISKS REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The German state of Bavaria is following Denmark and Switzerland’s lead and began confiscating valuables from refugees to pay for their resettlement.

Authorities search asylum applicants for valuables and cash when they file for asylum. The practice was lawful before Syrian refugees flooded the country last year, and is now implemented to serve as a payment for the social benefits the migrants enjoy.

“Asylum applicants are searched on arrival at the reception centers for documents, valuables, and money,” Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said in Thursday’s edition of Bild. “Cash and valuables may be confiscated if they are worth more than 750 euros [$820].”

Bavarian Refugee Council spokesman Stephan Dünnwald said the average cost of hosting a refugee is $432 per month. The confiscated items are unlikely to exceed the total cost of processing a refugee, since most migrants remain on welfare for several months or even years.

“Last fall, a volunteer called me and said a Syrian family had 10,000 euros with them, which had been taken from them at the border, and she wanted to know if they could get that money back somehow,” Dünnwald told Deutsche Welle Thursday. “And I said, ‘well no,’ – I mean a family of five, and each of them cost 400 euros a month. After five months they’re probably still stuck in the first reception shelter and the money will be gone.”

Denmark is expected to pass a similar law at the end of the month after a long debate over its moral implications. The German proposition differs in the way that the refugees may actually get the valuables back if and when they open up a bank account and are off social welfare. (RELATED: Danish Plan To Pay For Refugees: Start Taking Their Valuables)

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