SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s far-right administration issued new regulations Friday that open a fast-track for deporting foreigners who are deemed “dangerous” or have violated principals of the constitution.
The rules published by Justice Minister Sérgio Moro define a dangerous person as anyone associated with terrorism, organized crime or armed groups, in addition to soccer fans with a violent history. The new regulations also say authorities will be able to use several tools to label a foreigner as dangerous, including information from intelligence agencies.
Foreigners affected by the new regulations will have to either introduce their defense or leave Brazil within 48 hours after they are notified of their imminent deportation. Brazil’s rules previously gave foreigners at risk of deportation 60 days to regularize their status.
The rules are being issued under Brazil’s comprehensive Migration Act, which was passed by Congress in 2017 but did not address deportation specifically.
The regulations announced Friday include provisions saying no foreign nationals will be deported or denied entry based on race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion.
The new approach “doesn’t change the generosity of Brazilian law with immigrants and refugees,” the justice minister said. “It only stops people that are suspects of involvement in serious and specific criminal conduct. I don’t like the term ‘dangerous’ person, but that is the one used in the law now regulated.”
Moro added: “No country in the world, once they have knowledge, allows into its territory a foreigner that is a suspect of terrorism or a member of an armed criminal organization. That person is stopped at the entry and deported. The new regulations allow this to be made immediately.”
The new regulations come at a time Moro is under criticism following media reports on phone conversations that raised questions about potential judicial overreach when he was a judge overseeing the “Car Wash” corruption investigation.
The news website The Intercept Brasil, which is led by American journalist Glenn Greenwald, published the reports based on leaked messages.
Moro has criticized the reports as being based on the criminal hacking of phones and says the reported conversations might have been altered by criminals.
Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize winner who lives in Rio de Janeiro, sees the new deportation rules as a personal attack.
“Unthinkable in any democracy: Justice Minister Sergio Moro is commanding the investigation into our journalism even though his corruption is what we’ve exposed. He’s threatening to revise a dictatorship-era national security law to arrest me for reporting,” Greenwald said.
Camila Asano, a coordinator at the human rights group Conectas, questioned the legality of the regulations.
“Our migration law assures multiple guarantees to avoid arbitrary action against those trying to enter Brazil and those already living here,” Asano said. “Few people will be able to appeal in 48 hours. And there will be little chance for society to know for sure whether these regulations are being enforced correctly.”