The White House is under pressure to oust Jair Bolsonaro after the riots in BrazilThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Joe Biden condemned violent unrest in Brazil as the White House faced calls from Congress to expel Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of the Latin American country, from the United States, where he has lived since leaving office.
“Canada, Mexico and the United States condemn the January 8 attacks against Brazilian democracy and against the peaceful transfer of power,” the US president said in a joint statement Monday with Mexican leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
They added: “We support Brazil as it defends its democratic institutions. Our governments support the free will of the people of Brazil.
Bolsonaro, who has faced investigations from his time as president, has remained in self-imposed exile in Florida for about two weeks. He was admitted to a hospital for observation due to “abdominal discomfort,” his wife Michelle posted on social media Monday. “We pray for his health and for Brazil.”
Several Democratic lawmakers have called for the former Brazilian president to be removed from the United States. The questions come after his supporters on Sunday attacked The country’s Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace in riots that bore a striking resemblance to the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“The United States should not be a haven for this authoritarian regime that has inspired domestic terrorism in Brazil,” Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro said on CNN. “He should be sent back to Brazil.
Prominent progressive lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also called for Bolsonaro to be returned to Brazil. “We must stand in solidarity with @LulaOfficialthe democratically elected government,” she tweeted on Sunday, referring to the country’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. “The United States must stop granting asylum to Bolsonaro in Florida.
Republicans have not joined calls for Bolsonaro’s deportation, though a handful have condemned it protestsincluding Florida Senator Rick Scott and disgraced Republican Congressman George Santos, whose parents were born in Brazil.
Brazilian politicians on Monday also joined calls for Bolsonaro’s return to the country. Renan Calleiros, a prominent senator, asked Brazil’s top court to “immediately” extradite the former president, saying his involvement in Sunday’s riots was “indisputable.”
The court will consider the request, which requires Bolsonaro to be returned to Brazil within 72 hours.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US had not received any formal requests from the Brazilian government regarding Bolsonaro’s status in the country.
“If and when we do, we’ll deal with it,” he said.
He declined to talk about Bolsonaro’s specific immigration status, citing a policy of avoiding details about individual visa cases.
Sullivan said he expects Biden to speak with Lula in the next days.
On Sunday night, Bolsonaro tried to distance himself from radical supporters. The former army captain said the attacks, which damaged government property and works of art, had “crossed the line”.
While the U.S. State Department declined to comment specifically on Bolsonaro’s visa or his status in the U.S., spokesman Ned Price said Monday that foreign leaders or diplomats who entered the country on a diplomatic visa, known as an A visa, have 30 days to leave US or request an updated visa if they are no longer doing official work.
“If an A visa holder is no longer engaged in official business on behalf of his or her government, that visa holder is required to leave the United States or request a change of other immigration status within 30 days,” Price said.
“If an individual has no reason to be in the United States, they are subject to removal by the Department of Homeland Security,” he added.
A former senior U.S. official who worked on immigration said Bolsonaro likely traveled to the U.S. on an existing visa that may have been for diplomatic or tourist purposes.
He argued that it would not be easy for the US government to remove Bolsonaro. “It’s not easy to legally remove someone from the US who doesn’t want to go. They often have significant protections once they are physically in the US,” he said.
He added that it was possible Bolsonaro would remain in the country in a new capacity, for example if he found another job.
In any case, any removal action “could be a lengthy, multi-year effort,” the former official said. “It’s not going to be a quick process.”
Under US immigration laws, a person can be deported if the Secretary of State determines that he or she is harmful to US foreign policy. “The question is whether the secretary of state will do that,” he said.
Additional reporting by Michael Puller
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