Brazil opened the border with Venezuela for the first time since March last year, but limited access to 50 people per day. The entrance was blocked, according to the government, for health reasons, but the measure was criticized by lawyers and human rights organizations, who said an exception should be made – with control measures such as testing or quarantine – because it was about people. vulnerable people seeking refuge.
Ordinance 655, published this Wednesday (23), replaces one of the dozen that have already been issued concerning the entry of foreigners into the country and which, according to organizations, discriminated against Venezuelans. This time, the entry by land of people of this nationality is now allowed.
According to the ordinance, these “people in a situation of vulnerability resulting from a migratory flow caused by a humanitarian crisis” can benefit from emergency aid to welcome and regularize migration.
The text says that this also applies to those who entered the country from March 18 until now, when the borders were closed, that is to say by clandestine roads. Until now, they were in an irregular situation, unable to apply for asylum and subject to deportation – including summary, which contravenes Brazilian migration law and international asylum treaties.
Folha had access to an internal Operation Welcome meeting with partners, broadcast virtually, during which he was informed of the limit of 50 people per day, which would be possible to meet, according to a soldier who participates in the Welcome operation. . The objective, according to him, is to “discourage illegal entries into the country”. There will also be a tightening of the crackdown on coyotes – intermediaries responsible for taking migrants irregularly.
In a common situation, before the pandemic, the number of entries and exits at the border between Santa Elena and Pacaraima was at least 300. “It will be difficult to meet all the suppressed demand from migrants in Roraima. The limit of 50 people per day is insufficient, ”said Federal Public Defender João Chaves.
For him, the new ordinance has the positive point of recognizing the need for a solution to the Venezuelan migratory flow, but it leaves gaps. For example, he did not address the fines imposed on people who entered before the move – which can reach R $ 10,000.
According to him, it is also unclear whether the right to regularization by road for refugees is guaranteed for people in other states, outside of the Operation Welcome system.