The police have seized money and plane tickets from foreigners over two dozen times in just the past nine years, amounting to over 2.5 million ISK going into government coffers.
Vísir reports that, from 2005 to 2014, the National Police have seized cash and plane tickets from foreigners facing deportation 26 times. The money in question was cash that police took into possession when these foreigners first arrived in Iceland.
These seizures amount to 2,550,923 ISK, with all proceeds going directly to the state.
This information was brought to light in response to a formal question from Left-Green alternate MP Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir on the matter.
While a similar Danish law has sparked considerable criticism from around the world, Iceland already has a similar law on the books: Article 56 of the Act on Foreigners. This article gives police the power to take cash, valuables, return flight tickets and property from refugees and asylum seekers in order to pay, amongst other things, for their detention and deportation.
“We should, as a nation, not want to get anywhere near what Denmark is doing,” Rósa Björk told reporters at the time her question was submitted. “People who come here seeking asylum seldom have much, and there is a legal article which permits shaking down asylum seekers for various state expenditures with their application, which seems to permit shaking them down for legal work or the assistance of the state. I find that pretty low, and am interested to see whether this legal authority has been used.”