By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The President of Brazil, Michel Temer, sanctioned the country’s new immigration law yesterday (Thursday, May 25th), giving those foreigners who want to live in Brazil more rights. The President, however, vetoed thirty items in the new bill including the much-awaited amnesty for those immigrants currently living illegally in the country.
One of the main vetoes to the bill was to the amnesty of immigrants who entered Brazil before July 6, 2016 and were now in an irregular residency situation. According to the President’s justification for the veto, the provision would grant ‘indiscriminate amnesty to all immigrants’ and that there is was way to certify the exact date of the immigrant’s entry into the country.
This particular veto was seen by immigration experts as a major drawback to the new bill. “It constitutes more than enough proof that the new Migration Law is similar to previous legislation, with some touch-up or makeup, but that its spirit is from the former Foreigner Statute,” said Grover Calderón, President of the National Association of Foreigners and Immigrants in Brazil (ANEIB) on his entity’s webpage.
Another vetoed item in the new bill was one that would allow indigenous people to move on traditionally occupied lands regardless of country boundaries. This is likely to affect indigenous communities in the Center-West and Northern part of the country, who live very near Brazil’s border.
The new law however, will allow legal immigrants access to public services and the formal labor market and makes it easier for immigrants to access documentation necessary for permanent legal stay in the country. The new law also does away with the imprisonment of illegal immigrants.
“It integrates them into Brazilian society much more fully, allowing them protection such as a work registry document (carteira de trabalho). This removes the threat of these people ending up being victims of slave labor,” Camila Asano, coordinator at human rights group Conectas told a government news agency.
Brazil’s new immigration bill also consolidates the temporary visa used for humanitarian reasons, such as the ones given to Haitians and guarantees that immigrants, whose return to their home countries would put their life at risk, will not be deported and sent back.