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Judge bars Venezuelans from entering Brazil

Brazil’s Attorney-General’s Office is to appeal the ruling

Published in 06/08/2018 - 16:23

By Pedro Peduzzi Brasília

The entry of Venezuelans into Brazil via the northern state of Roraima has been suspended by a ruling issued by Judge Helder Girão Barreto, of a federal trial court. The decision was made after Brazil’s Attorney-General’s Office, the Human Rights Ministry, and Federal Prosecution Service had come out against a previous state decree that required more strictness from public security agents and police forces on the border. The move will be appealed by the Attorney-General’s Office.

According to authorities from the Attorney-General’s Office, the state decree came to the detriment of Venezuelans who came to Brazil, and interfered in a matter that should be tackled federally. In her motion, Attorney-General Grace Mendonça describes the decree, signed by Roraima Governor Suely Campos, as discriminatory and in contravention of humanitarian principles subscribed to by Brazil.

The decree was also met with criticism from the Human Rights Ministry, which stated it will file an appeal with the Prosecution Service, as Brazil has adhered to a number of international treaties on the enforcement of the rights of foreigners under state protection.

In the decision barring Venezuelans from coming to the country, Judge Barreto says “one must reiterate that, when it comes to immigration, the federal government is allowed to do anything, whereas state and city governments are forced to endure.” He added that the Brazilian state may adopt whichever immigration policy it sees fit, as long as it does not violate the Constitution and the autonomy of local governments.

“The burden of this policy must be shared by all—and not carried by just one,” he goes on to argue, adding that Brazil has welcomed Venezuelan immigrants “as long as they remain in Roraima.”

In Barreto’s view, the immigration into Roraima must be brought to a halt, so that “the measures thus far adopted may be taken stock of, and more effective ones ensuring the humanitarian reception of Venezuelan immigrants may be implemented, with rights ensured to the guarantees enjoyed by Brazilians and the successful relocation of immigrants in other states throughout the country.”

In his decision, the judge also mandates that national sanitary authorities comply with the requirements on the compulsory vaccination of Venezuelan immigrants already in the country.


The decree signed by Governor Campos allows state authorities to control immigration on the border. In an interview, Campos said that access to health care will be limited.

Campos justified the measure by arguing that the initiatives implemented by the federal government have proven ineffective. The inflow of Venezuelans, which has been considerable, she added, is believed to have made an impact on the security of the cities across the state.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira Edition: Graça Adjuto / Mariana Branco

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