Making life hard for migrants

Localities try to dissuade migrants from settling in their areas in a variety of ways, ranging from advertising campaigns that try to persuade refugees to settle elsewhere to enacting policies that discriminate against Muslims. These are the types of laws and policies that areas have adopted:

Discouraging immigration 7
Public campaigns attempting to persuade migrants to settle elsewhere
Property seizure 4
Taking money, jewelry or other valuables from migrants
Border control 2
Physical impediments that make it difficult for migrants to travel
Anti-Muslim 2
Laws that target Islamic traditions or practices
Bans 1
Restricting migrant access to public places
Identifying refugees 1
Requiring migrants to identify themselves
Profiling based on stereotypes 1
Policies that draw upon untrue stereotypes of migrants

Anti-migrant laws and policies

Some laws have been passed or proposed by governments, while other policies have been enacted by private contractors working on behalf of governments. While some legislation has been on the books for decades, the recent influx of refugees has fueled a new wave of anti-migrant laws.

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Germany tells refugees to integrate or go back

Passed 4/14/2016

The country passed a law that requires reguees to learn German and integrate or lose residency.

Discouraging immigration

Denmark can legally seize assets and valuables from refugees

Passed 1/26/2016

Denmark's Parliament passed a controversial law in January that allows authorities to seize valuables and cash from refugees.

Seizure of assets

States in Germany are allowed to seize assets from refugees

Passed 1/21/2016

States in southern Germany can seize assets from refugees if they are worth more than 750 euros ($812).

Seizure of assets

A Danish city made it mandatory for public institutions to serve pork

Passed 1/18/2016

The Danish city of Randers made it mandatory for public institutions, including cafeterias in kindergartens and day-care centers, to have pork dishes on their menus. The hope is to maintain a Danish identity in the face of increased emigration from Muslim countries, where many do not eat pork for religious reasons

Religious persecution

Switzerland can take any property worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs from refugees

Passed two decades ago

In 2015, more than 100 refugees were affected by the rule, which resulted in about $200,000 being seized. In total, Switzerland took in about 30,000 refugees between September 2014 and September 2015.

Seizure of assets

A German city banned migrants from a public swimming pool

Passed 1/15/2016

The German city of Bornheim banned male refugees older than 18 from a public swimming pool after a number of reports of sexual assaults. The ban was lifted after controversy ensued.


British city made refugees wear wristbands

In Britain, refugees in one city were made to wear red wristbands in order to receive food. The plan, implemented by a private company contracted by the government, has since been scrapped.

Identifying refugees

Denmark law says it is a crime to help migrants or regugees arrive in the country

Under the Aliens Act, Danes who give rides to refugees can be charged. From September 2015 to February of this year, 279 people have been charged.

Discouraging immigration

Norway forced some refugees to cycle across the border to Russia in the dead of winter

After a number of refugees used a legal loophole to enter Norway on a bike, the Norwegian government deported them back to Russia. In some cases, the refugees cycled back into the Arctic north of Russia. Norway has since stopped the practice under pressure from Russia.

Discouraging immigration

The Danish government placed advertisements in Lebanese newspapers telling Syrians not to come to Denmark.

The ads detailed changes to Denmark's asylum laws that would make it a less desirable place for refugees.

Discouraging immigration

Norway copies Danish government's refugee advertisements

The Norwegian government began its own anti-immigration ad campaign after the Danish started publishing ads asking migrants to come to Europe.

Discouraging immigration

Countries are giving migrants etiquette classes

A number of countries, including Denmark, Norway and Austria, have begun giving sexual education and etiquette classes to refugees.

Profiling based on stereotypes

Slovakia will only take in Christian refugees

The country said that it will refuse entry to Muslim refugees, instead announcing that it would take in only Christians.

Religious persecution
Border fences/walls

A variety of European countries have begun implementing border controls

Some interpret this as a move that may signal the eventual end of Europe's border-free Schengen area.

Border fences/walls

U.N. strongly criticized the detention of migrants and refugees who have arrived in the Czech Republic

The U.N. human rights chief has accused the Czech Republic of taking refugees' money to pay for their detention. In some cases, the refugees have been strip-searched in a bid to find cash.

Seizure of assets

Some migrants have to wait two years before reuniting with families

Passed 2/28/2016

Some asylum seekers won't be able to immediately bring family members to their new homes and have to wait at least two years.

Discouraging immigration

Asylum seekers have to wait three years before applying for their families to join them

Passed 1/26/2016

The waiting period for those who wanted to bring their families to Europe increased from one year to three.

Discouraging immigration

No laws match this criteria