Brazil to seek neighbors' help to stem illegal immigrants

2013-04-13 03:39:09 GMT2013-04-13 11:39:09(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Brazil will seek the help of Peru and Bolivia to prevent the influx of illegal immigrants through routes in the two neighboring countries, a top presidential aide said Friday.

Gilberto Carvalho, secretary general of the Office of the Presidency, said the government would ask its two northern neighbors to take necessary steps to stem the rise of undocumented Haitians entering Brazil along its northern border.

Most of Haitian immigrants entered Brazil through its borders with Peru and Bolivia, reaching Brazil's northern state of Acre in the Amazon rainforest region.

The increase of Haitian immigrants began after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which leveled much of its capital city Prot-au-Prince. Last year, Brazil issued work visas to the immigrants already in the country and announced the grant of 1,200 work visas a year to Haitians in order to curb illegal entry.

The effort, however, is in vain, as illegal immigration continues to swell.

Governor of Acre Tiao Viana declared a state of social emergency on Tuesday in the towns of Epitaciolandia and Brasileia, as some 1,600 illegal immigrants, almost all Haitian nationals, have landed in the two small towns since the beginning of 2013.

Viana said the state has to seek the help of the federal government to cope with the infrastructure and financial burdens under such circumstances.

He also accused the Foreign Ministry of not working hard enough to get the help of Bolivia and Peru in halting the immigration wave.

The president's aide Carvalho said the federal government would work with the Acre state to offer humanitarian aid to newcomers and fight against illegal immigration.

Brazil welcomes legal immigrants and officials need to find more organized means to accommodate them, Carvalho added.

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