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Danish MP Quits Party Over Plan to Take Migrants' Valuables

Migrants arrive at Rodby in Denmark, as Danish police guide them into a building at the harbor, Sept. 8, 2015. Danish lawmaker Jens Rohde has left the ruling right-wing party to protest the party's controversial migrant proposal. 

A Danish lawmaker has left the ruling right-wing party to protest the party's controversial migrant proposal.

Jens Rohde said he has defected from the Venstre party to the centrist Danish Social Liberal Party because he was appalled by a proposal to take valuables or cash worth more than $437 during border searches.

"I'm wondering and I'm concerned that there's no major outrage among Danes, that there aren't more people standing up and saying this can't be right," he said. "It cannot be right that we have to accept that they take the last bits of jewelry and the last dignity from refugees when they arrive to Denmark."

The Venstre party relies on the backing in parliament of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party.

International outrage

The proposal has not been approved by parliament, but the possibility of it has drawn international outrage.

The immigration ministry said the draft legislation would give authorities "the power to search the clothing and luggage of asylum-seeker and other migrants without a permit to stay in Denmark with a view to finding assets which may cover expenses."

Last week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe by sea and land this year is expected to top the 1 million mark this week.

The Geneva-based agency said in a statement Friday, marked as International Migrants Day, that 990,761 people have arrived so far this year from Africa and the Middle East.

Some material for this report came from AFP and Reuters.

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