Joe Biden condemned violent riots in Brazil as the White House faced calls from Congress to expel the Latin American country’s former president, Jair Bolsonaro, from the United States.
“Canada, Mexico and the United States condemn the January 8 attacks on Brazil’s democracy and the peaceful transfer of power,” the US president said in a joint statement Monday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canada’s prime minister. Justin Trudeau.
They added: We stand together Brazil It protects its democratic institutions. Our governments support the free will of the Brazilian people.
Bolsonaro, who faces investigations including allegations of election misinformation dating back to his presidency, has been in self-imposed exile in Florida for about two weeks. His wife Michelle posted on social media on Monday that he was hospitalized for observation due to “abdominal discomfort”. “We pray for his health and for Brazil.”
Several Democratic members of parliament have called for the removal of the former Brazilian president from the United States. The questions came after his supporters on Sunday Raid The nation’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace were engulfed in riots similar to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“The United States should not be a haven for this dictatorship that has encouraged domestic terrorism in Brazil,” Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro said on CNN. “He should be sent back to Brazil.”
Prominent progressive lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also called for Bolsonaro’s return to Brazil. “We must stand united @LulaOfficialthe country’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “US must stop harboring Bolsonaro in Florida.”
Republicans have not joined calls to extradite Bolsonaro, although a few have condemned it objectionsHer parents, including Florida Senator Rick Scott and disgraced Republican Congressman Jorge Santos, were born in Brazil.
Brazilian politicians on Monday also joined calls to bring Bolsonaro back to the country. Renan Calheiros, a prominent senator, called on Brazil’s Supreme Court to “immediately” extradite the former president, saying his involvement in Sunday’s riots was “irrefutable”.
The court will consider the request to extradite Bolsonaro to Brazil within 72 hours.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. had not received any official requests from the Brazilian government about Bolsonaro’s status in the country, but if it did, “we would treat them seriously.”
He declined to discuss Bolsonaro’s specific immigration status, citing a policy of avoiding specifics about individual visa cases.
Biden and Lula spoke by phone on Monday, and the Brazilian leader accepted a U.S. invitation to the White House in early February, according to a reading from Washington. Biden expressed America’s “unreserved support . . . for Brazil’s democracy and the free will of the Brazilian people, in Brazil’s recent presidential election, in which President Lula won”.
On Sunday evening, Bolsonaro tried to distance himself from radical supporters. The attacks, which damaged government property and artworks, “crossed the line,” said a former army captain.
While the US State Department declined to comment specifically on Bolsonaro’s visa or his status in the US, spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that foreign leaders or diplomats who entered the country on a diplomatic visa, known as an A visa, have 30 days to leave the US. Or get a renewed visa if they are no longer conducting official business.
“If a visa holder is no longer engaged in official business on behalf of their government, that visa holder is obligated to leave the United States or request a change to another immigration status within 30 days,” Price said.
“If an individual has no basis to be in the United States, an individual will be removed by the Department of Homeland Security,” he added.
A former senior U.S. official who worked on immigration issues said Bolsonaro may have traveled to the U.S. on an existing visa, possibly for diplomatic or tourism purposes.
He argued that the US government’s removal of Bolsonaro was not straightforward. “It’s not easy to legally remove someone who doesn’t want to leave the U.S. They have significant protections while they’re physically in the U.S.
He said Bolsonaro could stay in the country in a new capacity, for example if he gets another job.
Either way, any divestment would be “a protracted, multi-year effort,” the former official said. “It’s not going to be a quick process.”
Under US immigration laws, he can be deported if the Secretary of State finds him harmful to US foreign policy. The question is whether the Secretary of State is going to do it.
Additional reporting by Michael Pooler