RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil has borders totaling 16,885 kilometers (10,492 miles) with ten different countries, which ranks it in third place behind China and Russia for the longest international land borders. China has 22,147 km, Russia has 20,017 km, and the United States has 12,034 km… roughly the same amount as Kazakhstan (with 12,012 km). The United Kingdom, including all territories has just 513 km, but obviously with coastlines it is another equation.
Border control is a wide ranging issue, and nations approach it in a variety of ways for a variety of concerns. Issues from legal and illegal immigration, tariffs/taxes and smuggling, to armed protection against acts of war (and terrorism).
North Korea and the old Soviet Union used border control to keep people from leaving, prisoners in their own country. Most border control stories you hear today though are about keeping people and drugs out, without success.
The Southern U.S. border’s total length is 3,169 km (1,969 miles), and is the most frequently crossed international border in the world, with an estimated 350,000,000 crossings per year. The Northern U.S. border is a much larger 8,891 kilometers (5,525 mi) long, including 2,475 kilometers shared with Alaska.
This norther U.S. border (at its summer balmy best) is perhaps more similar to Brazil’s border concerns, in that there are massive amounts of unpopulated, wilderness territory. They are also borders with relatively low immigration traffic, as Brazil has only just started to become a developing country of opportunity.
With success comes new challenges though, and Brazil is seeing both Gringo executives chasing fortunes or escaping their past, as well as a new wave of migrant workers. For example the amount of Bolivian immigrants entering Brazil through Mato Grosso, or Corumbá, in Mato Grosso do Sul has increased significantly.
Statistics indicate nearly 1,500 Bolivian immigrants come to Brazil every month looking for a job, many to the illegal textile industry in the Greater São Paulo. Recent reports estimate there are 200,000 Bolivians living in the São Paulo area, the majority being undocumented immigrants, despite Brazil’s recent immigration Amnesty Law.
In 2009, Brazil had an estimated 682,000 foreign born people living in here… Not not surprisingly, the majority of work visas concessions were granted to U.S. and British citizens.