Bolsonaro Pulls Brazil From U.N. Migration Accord

Bolsonaro Pulls Brazil From U.N. Migration Accord

09/01 -17:00 - President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil said Wednesday that his government would no longer be a party to a United Nations migration accord signed last month.

RIO DE JANEIRO — President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil said Wednesday that his government would no longer be a party to a United Nations migration accord signed last month, arguing that “not just anyone can come into our home.”

The decision is not expected to have any immediate impact because the deal, known as the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, is not legally binding on the more than 160 nations that signed it.

But it may signal that Latin America’s largest nation, which has long been welcoming to foreigners, may adopt a harder line on immigration as Mr. Bolsonaro’s far-right administration gets settled.

“Brazil has a sovereign right to decide whether or not it accepts migrants,” Mr. Bolsonaro said in a message posted on Twitter. “Anyone who comes here must be subject to our laws and customs, and must sing our national anthem and respect our culture.”

Diplomats spent nearly two years negotiating the migration accord, which sought to lay out basic principles to address the surge in global migration in a humane and pragmatic manner.

The 34-page pact called for the collection of better data on migrant movements, the strengthening of legal paths to migration, efforts to combat human trafficking and cooperation to ease the safe return of migrants to their original countries.

The compact does not bar signatories from enacting and enforcing their own immigration laws, although Mr. Bolsonaro suggested that it would. “Not just anyone is allowed to enter into our house, just like not just anyone will enter Brazil thanks to a pact adopted by third parties,” he wrote.

Immigration policy was not a dominant issue during last year’s presidential campaign in Brazil, which Mr. Bolsonaro won by vowing to take an iron-fisted approach toward violent crime and graft.

Yet Brazilians in some communities along the border with Venezuela have begun to criticize the country’s permissive immigration policies. Thousands of Venezuelans fleeing hunger and destitution have crossed into Brazil in recent months.

Mr. Bolsonaro did not signal whether his government’s approach to the Venezuelan exodus would change, but he suggested Brazil would continue to embrace those in need.

“We will never withhold help to those in need, but immigration cannot be indiscriminate,” he said in a second message on Twitter. “The defense of national sovereignty was one of the cornerstones of our campaign and it will be a priority of our government.”

Mauricio Santoro, a professor of political science at Rio de Janeiro State University, said Mr. Bolsonaro was misguided in dropping out of the accord.

“There are close to one million foreigners in Brazil and more than three million Brazilians abroad,” he said. “It’s in the national interest to have good global rules to protect immigrants and to participate in creating them.”

Mr. Santoro said that the decision would mean little to Mr. Bolsonaro’s core supporters. But it aligns Brazil’s president ideologically with other conservative leaders who have risen to power by opposing multilateral approaches to contentious issues, including climate change and the treatment of refugees.

The Trump administration was among the handful of countries that chose not to join the migration accord, which was signed in early December. Other nations that rejected it included Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Australia and Israel.

People from Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador are allowed to work and become permanent residents in Brazil easily, under a visa accord in force for several years.

As the exodus from Venezuela has intensified, Brazil has allowed Venezuelans to obtain work documents and has helped a few thousand resettle from border communities to larger cities with more job opportunities. es un sitio web oficial del Gobierno Argentino