Translation by Bruna Citadini
Portuguese version: click here
The Federal Police extended until March 15, 2022 the deadline for immigrants residing in Brazil to regularize the documents that expired amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The measure is provided for in Ordinance No. 25, of August 17, 2021, which was published in this Thursday’s (26) edition of “Diário Oficial da União”. It starts coming into effect on September 15th.
The extension of the deadline was already being studied by the Federal Police, but the new date still needed to be established. The idea was presented by representatives of the entity during two public hearings held this August – one in the Chamber of Deputies and another promoted by OAB-SP.
“The deadline will be extended for all people who have documents obtained by the Federal Police, protocols, immigration registration cards that expired this year or last year, which we were unable to attend due to the pandemic”, said the Federal Police delegate and general coordinator of the Ministry of Justice’s Immigration Police, André Zaca Furquim, during the event in early August.
It is the second time that the institution extends the deadline for this regularization since normal activities were fully resumed in the context of the pandemic. From March to November 2020, the Federal Police worked only for exceptional cases, and the counting of immigration deadlines was suspended.
MigraMundo asked the Federal Police about the number of immigrants who still need to regularize their documents with the Brazilian government. However, there was no return from the institution until the time of the publication of this article.
The many interpretations
Although the deadline extension is positive by civil society institutions that deal with migrant issues, they point out that the ordinance does not provide for a major obstacle in documentation issues: the scheduling.
“Only the extension of the deadline is positive, but it remains the same thing”, says sociologist Isabel Torres, who works in the migration regularization sector at CAMI (Center for Support and Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees).
In public hearings, representatives of the Federal Police talked about the possibility of carrying out joint efforts to regularize migration, in partnership with civil society associations. So far, however, no further details have been provided on how, when or where this could occur.
Attorney Vitor Bastos, vice president of the OAB-SP Immigrant and Refugee Rights Commission and member of the ProMigra (Project for the Promotion of Migrants’ Rights of the USP Law School), sees another problem in the ordinance, more precisely in the third item of Article 1.
The excerpt says: “This article applies to immigrants and visitors who are applying for a residence permit and necessary documentation, but have not been able to schedule an appointment due to local restrictions at the service unit”. However, according to the lawyer, the text has a wording whose interpretation is very wide, which can open space for discretion – meaning that it leaves the application of the rule to each agent’s criteria.
“It is the type of text that opens up a margin. Knowing the Federal Police’s service, it can result in an abuse of authority and unreasonable demands [on the immigrant]”.
The issue of scheduling for the regularization of the documents is seen as one of the reasons to think of a broad project that helps this purpose.
Amidst the pandemic, in May 2020 the “Regulariza Já” campaign was launched by the immigrants in Brazil. It helped foster the creation of a bill in the Chamber of Deputies, PL 2699/2020, which provides for the regularization of migrants as part of the effort to combat Covid-19.
At the moment, the text is being processed by the Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense of the Chamber of Deputies, with a report by Deputy Jefferson Campos (PSB-SP). He gave an opinion against the project, which led the organizations and people committed to the proposal to try a dialogue so that the deputy could reconsider his decision.