By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber rejected on Monday night the request made by the Roraima government to close the state’s border with Venezuela. The ruling came hours after a federal judge in that state ruled that local government could halt the inflow of Venezuelans seeking refuge in Brazil.

Brazil,Brazil's Supreme Court Justice, Rosa Weber, rejected ruling that would close down the border between Brazil and Venezuela in Roraima state.
Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice, Rosa Weber, rejected ruling that would close down the border between Brazil and Venezuela in Roraima state, photo by Carlos Moura/STF..

“It is not justifiable, because of the difficulties that refugee accommodations naturally brings, to start with the easiest solution to ‘close doors’, which in hypothesis is equivalent, to ‘closing your eyes’ and ‘crossing your arms’,” said Justice Weber in her decision.

According to the Justice in addition to the absence of legal premises for issuing the injunction, the request of the Roraima government is also contrary ‘to the foundations of the Federal Constitution, Brazilian laws and treaties ratified by Brazil’.

The federal judge in Roraima, Helder Girão Barreto, justified his ruling by saying that ‘it is imperative to reject the idea that, in matters of immigration, the Union can do everything, and the states and municipalities must bear everything.”

He added that the Brazilian State can ‘adopt the immigration policy that it understands, as long as it does not violate the Federal Constitution and the autonomy of states, and municipalities’.

“The burden of this policy must be shared by all and not supported by only one,” said Barreto, affirming that Brazil welcomes Venezuelan immigrants ‘as long as they stay in Roraima’.

Over the last eighteen months nearly 128,000 Venezuelans have entered Brazil through the country’s northern border at the state of Roraima.

In February, Brazil’s Michel Temer vowed that ‘no one would prevent the entry of refugees’ in Brazil, but that the federal government understood the problems faced by cities in Roraima in hosting and giving assistance to the great number of Venezuelans crossing the border. Measures have been implemented by the federal government where Venezuelans have been relocated to other states such as Minas Gerais and São Paulo.

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