Brazil Grants Haitians Visas, but Border Security to Increase

The South American nation where Haitians once flocked plans to offer just 100 work visas going forward.

Posted: 01/12/2012 03:57 PM EST

In efforts to both aid Haitians still seeking stability following the devastating 2010 earthquake and protect its borders from an influx of Haitian immigrants, the Brazilian government has announced that it will grant residence visas to 4,000 immigrants currently in the country, while vowing to deport all others that cross its borders illegally.


Justice Minister Jose Cardozo said upon the announcement Tuesday, “The government will not be indifferent to the Haitians' vulnerable economic situation. But those who don't have a visa will not be allowed into Brazil.”


The move comes just as Haitians everywhere commemorate the two-year anniversary of the earthquake that left more than 300,000 dead and displaced nearly one million.


Despite its own economic problems, Brazil has appeared to be a promising destination for many Haitians fleeing the devastation of their country because of the recent increase of construction and infrastructure-related employment opportunities that have been created to ready the country for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.


But Brazil contends that economics aren’t its only concerns. According to reports, the country’s porous borders have become a haven for human traffickers, a scourge that the government hopes the new restrictions will stem. However, in addition to ramped-up border patrols, Brazil also plans to offer just 100 work visas per month. From now on, to gain legal entry into Brazil, most Haitians will have to apply at the Brazilian embassy in Port-au-Prince before making the trip to Brazil.

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(Photo: EPA/Saul Ramirez/Landov)