Amnesty for illegal aliens in Brazil

Published 2 July, 2009 – 15h40

Agencia Brazil – Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC)

Gilberto Costa
Reporter of Agência Brasil

Brasília – This afternoon President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva approved the Bill 1.664-D, of 2007, the so-called Bill of Migration Amnesty, which authorizes provisional permanence of foreign citizens in an illegal situation in Brazil.

The new bill allows all illegal citizens that have entered Brazil before the 1st of February of this year to obtain legal permanence, freedom of movement, the right to work, access to public healthcare and education, and Justice.

The measure covers all those who have entered Brazil illegally, those with expired visas or that did not benefit from the last Law of Migration Amnesty, in 1998.

The Ministry of Justice estimates that around 50 thousand people will benefit from this measure. However, according to international bodies, that number could reach 200 thousand.

All interested parties should request legalization of of their situation before the end of this year (probable date is 30 December), but after the Diário Oficial da União has published ordinance of the Ministry of Justice standardizing foreseen legal procedures. The fee for legalization is R$ 67, plus and extra R$ 31 for the ID card.

This measure, says the national secretary of Justice, Romeu Tuma Júnior, “humanizes the migratory issue” and fights the trafficking of humans that enter Brazil and are employed under a regime of slavery, which is what occurred with illegally hired Bolivian workers by textile companies in São Paulo.

The secretary added that, in addition to the Bolivians, the Chinese, Paraguayans, Peruvians and Russians are among the main population groups that this law will benefit.

Currently, there are around 880 thousand foreigners living legally in Brazil, most of which come from Portugal, Japan, Italy and Spain. The government estimated that around 4 million Brazilian live overseas. Tuma Júnior says he hopes this Brazilian initiative will “cause awareness and generate reciprocity” in other countries. “Countries are criminalizing, while Brazil is humanizing,” he concluded.

In addition to approving the Bill of Migration Amnesty, President Lula should also sign a message to the National Congress today with submittal of a new Bill of Foreigners.

For the full article (in Portuguese), visit http://www.agenciabrasil.gov.br/noticias/2009/07/02/materia.2009-07-02.0554961635/view

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