It’s not just Australia, Israel, Bulgaria, Italy and the rest of Europe trying desperately to hold back the tide of migrants from the Middle East/Africa and other third world nations, but even in South America there is no peace from largely economic migrants (all calling themselves ‘asylum seekers’) looking for new places to call home.
From Deutsche Welle (The star of this story is Mohammed from Syria):
Brazil has seen the number of asylum seekers increase nearly tenfold over three years and official agencies are woefully unprepared to deal with the refugees. Few people receive asylum and help for immigrants is sparse.
In Brazil, political refugees from the Middle East or Africa have been a rare sight over the last few years. The South American country appears far removed from the horrors of war on foreign continents. But that is changing. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of people seeking asylum in Brazil increased nearly tenfold, from 566 to 5,200. Adding to those numbers are thousands of immigrants from Haiti, Senegal, Angola, Liberia, Bolivia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“Brazil has to prepare for an increasing crush of immigrants,” said Andres Ramirez, who represents the UN’s refugee agency in Brazil (Acnur). Since 2013, the organization has been operating a small office in Sao Paulo. One of the biggest problems, he told DW, is the lack of emergency shelters. “Many refugees sleep on the streets for days before they get any help,” he said.
Of the 5,200 people applying for asylum in Brazil, just 649 were recognized, according to figures from the country’s Ministry of Justice. The largest group among them, 283, came from Syria, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 106, then Columbia and Angola.
The largest group seeking asylum, however, were the 1,814 Bangladeshis. Just one was recognized as a political refugee. Senegal followed with 868 asylum seekers, of whom four were recognized. In other conflict regions, such as Lebanon, Guinea-Bissau and Somalia, acceptance rates stood at below 3 percent.
Such statistics don’t include the 15,000 Haitians in northern Brazil. Roughly 70 per day arrive in Brasilia, a city of just 10,000 in the state of Acre, bordering Peru.
The unofficial influx has become a political problem. In an extraordinary cry for help, the state government of Acre requested on Wednesday (15.1.2014) that the federal Ministry of Justice allow it to close the border to Peru.
As always, I wonder how the poor and destitute from places like Bangladesh are getting the money to travel half way around the world to Brazil. And, do they all pass through Cuba on the way??? I suppose it’s just a matter of time before they work their way north to the US border!