A group of 358 migrants is trapped in a restricted area at Guarulhos International Airport, in São Paulo. Last weekend alone, on December 2nd and 3rd, 189 travelers showed up at the airport. On Sunday alone, there were 123. For comparison, until last Friday (1), 693 migrants had arrived in Brazil in the entire year 2023. The information is from the Federal Police (PF).
Although the PF did not reveal the nationality of the individuals, Guarulhos City Hall confirmed that the majority of the group is of Vietnamese origin. The recent increase in the flow has caused concern among authorities, who are investigating whether there are activities of illegal immigration facilitators — the so-called coyote networks.
According to the PF, there are ongoing operations within the scope of the PF and Interpol regarding investigations against these facilitators.
“This is a recent flow, which has increased substantially in the last week”, the police informed the CNN . “As of this date, there are 358 people in a restricted area who are waiting to return to their origin, go to a third country that accepts them or enter Brazil as asylum seekers.”
According to the Federal Police, by the end of Wednesday night (6) approximately 150 people had already expressed their intention to request refuge.
In a statement, Guarulhos City Hall reported that the Vietnamese are in the non-admittance area of the airport, which means that they have not officially entered the country. When asked about the stranded migrants, the PF stated that not everyone is prevented from entering by the PF, and stated that travelers may be barred for other reasons.
“These may be travelers in transit who are refused in the country of destination or rejected by the carrier for not meeting the requirements to continue their journey or even travelers who, despite being in international transit, do not present themselves to the subsequent carrier, remaining in the Airport and later requesting refuge”, declared the PF.
Currently, Brazil requires a visa for foreigners to enter, depending on the traveler’s nationality. However, in the case of international transit, Brazilian legislation exempts transit visas if the passenger remains within a restricted security area.
According to the PF, although the majority of migrants are from countries that require a visa to enter Brazil, many of them leave Europe heading to Brazil and head to a third South American country. Upon arriving here, however, they remain at the airport and request refuge, to take advantage of the transit visa exemption rule.
The PF also reported that it prevented the entry of 729 international travelers in 2023. “In the same period, the Federal Police followed up on 3,152 asylum requests, most of them from nationalities not consistent with the origin of the travelers prevented by the Federal Police, there is a clear dissociation between travelers prevented from entering the country from those who actually request asylum.”
When contacted by the report, GRU Airport, the concessionaire responsible for Guarulhos Airport, preferred not to comment directly, and advised that the information be consulted with the Federal Police and Guarulhos City Hall.
Case is different from that of Afghans
Although these situations are similar, Afghan refugees arriving in Brazil are not detained in the inadmissible area. This is because, since 2021, they have been entitled to a humanitarian visa, due to the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan.
*Under the supervision of Felipe Andrade
Source: CNN Brasil
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