Opinion by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It is often said that there are more Brazilians in New England from the town of Governador Valadares in Minas Gerais, than there are in Governador Valadares itself.
This is probably not true, because Governador Valadares is a city of over 200,000 inhabitants, but for years, if you were from that town, you could not get a tourist visa to the United States, because of the wave of illegal immigrants two decades ago.
Nowadays, as the Brazilian economy has tanked, there are probably more Brazilians in South Florida than in New England, and recent news reports show that the human smugglers known as “coyotes” are very active in Brazil and the Bahamas.
The number of Brazilians whose requests for tourist visas to the U.S. were denied rose to 16.7 percent in 2016 from only 5.3 percent in 2015; the number of Brazilians arrested trying to cross the border illegally rose to 3,252 from 1,434.
According to Sergio Amaral, Brazil’s Ambassador to the U.S., there are around 1.4 million Brazilians in the U.S., and “only” ten percent of those are illegal. The Ambassador says those Brazilians shouldn’t worry, they’re not going to be deported. His reason seems to be that it’s going to be impossible for government agencies to set up checkpoints outside all those places where Brazilians are employed.
The Curmudgeon does not share the Ambassador’s optimism. Trump the candidate promised to deport all eleven million illegal “aliens”. Judging by his pugnacious inaugural address and mendacious speech to the CIA, Trump the President is simply a continuation of Trump the candidate.
Trump is a businessman, and when he talks he means business. If you are a Brazilian in the U.S. without legal status, be afraid — he’s coming after anyone from south of the border. The easternmost border, if you’re wondering, is the county line separating Trump’s beloved Palm Beach from South Florida.
Trump the President has just, symbolically and symptomatically, deleted the Spanish language version of the White House website. If there had been a Portuguese version, he would have deleted that too.