Senate votes on bill in which serious reversals to the Migration Law are proposed
Proposal to be considered tomorrow by the Social Affairs Committee in the House. Impact on the Migration Law to be discussed in public hearing on Tuesday
Group of Venezuelan migrants walk the 215km stretch between the towns of Pacaraima and Boa Vista (Photo: Marcelo Camargo/Ag. Brasil)
On Tuesday, 20 August the Senate is to discuss a draft bill (PL 1928/19) in which serious reversals to the Migration Law are proposed. The draft bill, created to allow the possibility of providing temporary visas to young migrants who want to work in the country, gained a substitute last week in which people suspected of involvement in terrorist practices could be refused entry or deported without the proper right to defence.
The new text incorporates an amendment by Senator Fernando Bezerra (MDB-PE), in response to a demand from the Ministry of Justice to Legislative power – as the Senator himself said during the presentation of the proposal – that aims to tighten entry rules into the country.
The bill will be put to a ‘terminative’ vote by the Social Affairs Committee (CAS) in the Senate, presided over by Senator Romário (PODE-RJ). If approved the text will be submitted directly to the Chamber of Deputies. Following a succession of requests from civil society, the Committee has approved the call for a public hearing. This will take place on Tuesday, with representatives from organisations involved in the issue of migration, such as UNHCR (UN Agency for Refugees), Cáritas São Paulo and the Brazilian Public Defender’s Office, as well as other institutions.
Reversals in the Migration Law
The Migration Law was put together as a cross-party initiative and had the broad participation of members of society involved in this issue. It was approved unanimously in the National Congress. This text substituted the Foreigners Statute – that approached migration policy as an issue of national security – with a law in which migrants are treated as people who have rights, just like any Brazilian. In addition to becoming an international benchmark for migrant protection, the law brought national migration policy into line with the Constitution and with the contemporary challenges of migratory demands.
In July, the Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, signed Ordinance 666, that created the possibility of summary deportation and of refusing entry of migrants to the country under the mere ‘suspicion’ of involvement in crime. The new rule gives border officials the power to decide whether people are ‘dangerous’ thus hindering their guarantee of defence.
The Ordinance has been harshly criticised by civil society, by the Federal Public Prosecution and by the Brazilian Public Defender’s Office who suggest revoking the document on the grounds that it violates the Constitution, the Migration Law and international norms and treaties adopted by Brazil. In a Recommendation made available in the Diario Oficial on Tuesday, the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) protested the ruling which is also being subjected to judicial investigation.