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Cash Cows: German Police Stripping Refugees of Money at Border

© REUTERS / Michaela RehleGerman police officers standing in front of migrants waiting to cross the border from Austria to Germany near Freilassing, Germany September 17, 2015.
German police officers standing in front of migrants waiting to cross the border from Austria to Germany near Freilassing, Germany September 17, 2015. - Sputnik International
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Under questioning from Germany's Left Party, the Interior Ministry revealed that at least 350,000 euros was confiscated from refugees arriving in Germany in 2015, German newspaper Das Bild reported.

A migrant woman with a child stands in a queue of refugees and migrants after she arrived with a train at the train station Schoenefeld near, Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. - Sputnik International
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German federal police confiscated 349,438.97 euros ($398,000) from refugees and migrants when they searched people entering Germany during 2015, Das Bild reported on Thursday.

The cash was confiscated according to federal rules which state that asylum seekers are allowed to keep an allowance of only 200 euros ($228) per person when they enter Germany and claim asylum. 

In addition, reported Bild, states have their own rules about the amount of money that asylum seekers area allowed to retain, based on Germany's Asylum Seekers' Benefits Act. The final amount of cash taken by the authorities is yet to be calculated, since the federal authorities have not received all the necessary reports from state authorities on the costs of asylum.

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In Bavaria, for example, cash and valuables worth up to 750 euros can be retained, in Baden-Wurttemburg the threshold is 350 euros, and in Hessen is reportedly just 200 euros.

For administrative ease the authorities prefer to confiscate cash rather than valuables, and the money is used to pay for so-called "Security Benefits," to cover the expenses of their stay in Germany and the potential cost of deportation.

'"Security benefits": The federal police takes 350,000 euros cash from asylum seekers.'

​Ulla Jelpka, the Left Party's spokeswoman for interior affairs, called the practice of taking money from refugees to pay for their expenses "extremely problematic," Die Welt reported.

The practice is "in effect confiscation on a large scale" that could include other valuables such as money or telecommunications equipment being taken, and severely limits the independence of refugees, said Jelpka.

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