Amnesty to illegal aliens fulfills Brazilian government’s expectations

We translated the article published on the Brazilian Ministry of Justice website. The original version could be read through this link (http://www.mj.gov.br/data/Pages/MJA5F550A5ITEMIDBA915BD3AC384F6C81A1AC4AF88BE2D0PTBRIE.htm).

Refugees United

Amnesty to illegal aliens fulfills Brazilian government’s expectations

Around 43 thousand foreigners regularized their situation from July 02 to December 30 last year, during the last amnesty granted by the Brazilian government. That balance has been disclosed this Wednesday (06) by the interim minister of Justice, Mr. Luis Paulo Barreto, confirming official expectations. Bolivians head the list of the measure’s greatest beneficiaries, with around 17 thousand registered persons, the majority of them – around 16.3 thousand – in the state of Sao Paulo alone.

The registration was done by the Federal Police (FP) and its purpose was to show that Brazil follows an opposite course if compared to other nations, without discriminating immigrants and allowing them to have henceforth a dignified life, with the right to health, education, housing, employment and justice. Such an attitude has a humanitarian character and avoids, for example, that a considerable part of those foreigners becomes explored workforce under slavery-like labor regimes.

That is exactly the case of Bolivians. Many of them, by fear of deportation, were obliged to work in unhealthy facilities, without decent wages and under extenuating conditions. Following Bolivians in the number of regularization requests are the Chinese (5.5 thousand), Peruvians (4.6 thousand), Paraguayans (4.1 thousand) and Koreans (1.1 thousand). And a surprise: approximately 2.4 thousand Europeans contacted the FP.

In the case of Europeans, they have a different profile from remaining foreigners. They usually are entrepreneurs. A considerable part of them have benefited from a pension allowance or from money saved in Euros to open small businesses, such as restaurants and beach inns in the Brazilian northeastern region – but registered in the name of third parties. With the amnesty, they will be able to act freely, to extend their investments and even to obtain bank loans.

This has been the third amnesty granted by the government (the other ones were held in 1998 and 1988) and the most expressive in terms of results. One of the reasons was the value to be paid for the benefit – four to five times lower than in the previous amnesty programs – and the political will so that Brazil outstands in the global scenario as a country without prejudice against immigrants.

“Here we defend migratory regularization as a social inclusion instrument. It is a “no” to criminalization”, said Mr. Luis Paulo Barreto. “Brazil, historically, has been formed by foreigners. The newcomers are able to profess their faith, and to keep their own costumes. Brazilians absorb and live very well with such differences”.

According to the new amnesty, all foreigners facing an illegal migratory situation who had entered Brazil until February 1, 2009, could request a provisory residence permit for two years, provided they fulfilled some requirements, such as moral standing. Ninety days before the end of that two-year period, the temporary residence right might become a permanent one. The beneficiaries will hold the same rights and duties as Brazilians do, with the exception of those inherent to people born in the country, such as the possibility of running for elected offices.

Today, around one million people, from many different nationalities, legally live in Brazil, among them: Portuguese (270 thousand); Japanese (92 thousand); Italians (69 thousand); Spanish (58 thousand); Argentineans (39 thousand); Bolivians (33 thousand); German (28 thousand); Uruguayans (28 thousand); North-American (28 thousand); Chinese (27 thousand), Koreans (16 thousand); French (16 thousand); Lebanese (13 thousand) and Peruvians (10 thousand). Nonetheless, that is a lower figure than the number of Brazilians living abroad, which might amount to 4 million people.

Source: Ministério da Justiça

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