Brazilian Judge Orders Border Closed to Venezuelan Migrants

A judge in Brazil has ordered a block on Venezuelans crossing the border into Brazil to flee their country’s economic and political turmoil.

However, federal lawyers have appealed the ruling, and officials said the border was still open Monday.

Federal Judge Helder Barreto ordered the border closed in the northern state of Roraima. He said the migrants’ entry should be suspended until the state can reach equilibrium between the arrival of migrants and their exit to other parts of Brazil.

The court order has the backing of Roraima Governor Suely Campos, who said the state has been asking the country’s Supreme Court to close the border.

State officials say an estimated 500 Venezuelans cross into Brazil every day, and many stay in Roraima because they cannot afford to move on.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are estimated to have moved to Roraima in the last three years, overwhelming the state’s social services.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has said on multiple occasions that Brazil’s border with Venezuela would not be closed.

More than 1 million people have left Venezuela since 2015, fleeing an economic and political crisis in their home country. Many have gone to Colombia, but authorities there and elsewhere in South America are tightening their borders, making Portuguese-speaking Brazil more attractive to the refugees.

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