One of the newest laws proposed by the Belgium’s government is stirring up lots of controversy. Belgium is contemplating a way of recouping part of the costs of caring for the influx of refugees from Syria. The part of the law that is upsetting many people in Belgium and across Europe is the attempt to legalize the seizure of the refugees’ valuables in order to stop the reunification of refugee families. The Belgium government sees seizure of money and valuables as a way to deter other refuges from choosing Belgium to find refuge.
With this law, the police could search the luggage of refugees and their person, and they would have the authority to seize whatever they find that is worth a determined amount. The reason for this seizure is to help cover the costs of the upkeep of holding and caring for the refuges. In addition, the refugees would now be required to wait three years before being eligible to apply for sanctuary for their family members still in Syria. There were more than twenty thousand known refugees who sought refuge in Syria during 2015. This has placed an extreme burden on Belgium’s welfare program. In an already cash-strapped economy, Belgium sees no alternative to pay for the upkeep and to pay for the health care of the refugees, some of whom are in desperate need.