Flight with US deportees arrives in Brazil with unprecedented 90 minors

Flight with US deportees arrives in Brazil with unprecedented 90 minors

Brazil received this Wednesday (26) a flight with 211 Brazilians deported from the United States, 90 of them minors – including children up to 10 years old. The number of minors sent back to the country is unprecedented in this type of operation, intensified under Donald Trump and maintained by the administration of Joe Biden.

The flight departed the state of Arizona and arrived at Tancredo Neves International Airport, in Confins (MG), in the early afternoon, around 1:30 pm. It is the second group of deportees to land in the country this year, according to the Federal Police.

The corporation said in a statement that it is investigating the circumstances in which the children left Brazilian territory and the conditions to which they were submitted in the process of entering the US.

In addition to federal police officers, representatives of the Children and Youth Courts of Belo Horizonte and Pedro Leopoldo (a city in the metropolitan region of the capital of Minas Gerais) accompanied the disembarkation.

According to interlocutors who follow the case, what is known so far is that the children were accompanied by their parents. It is still being investigated, however, if there are people in this group who pretend to be parents to, in the migratory process, try to enter the USA through the so-called “cai cai” scheme.

This method has become more popular because a migrant who, when stepping on American soil accompanied by a minor first-degree relative, surrenders to the authorities, responds to the process in freedom — children cannot remain alone during repatriation procedures to Brazil or acceptance by the American government. Smugglers and coyotes saw this rule as a business opportunity.

The screening work on the flight that arrived on Wednesday, for maternity and paternity verification, began shortly after landing. In cases without confirmation of link, the crime of trafficking in persons is configured.

PF and Itamaraty authorities aware of the matter said that, since the second half of December last year, children have been included in the groups of deportees. They believe that it is a strategy of the Americans so that the practice of “cai cai” is inhibited.

In eastern Minas Gerais, where Governador Valadares is located – which historically concentrates the largest number of migrants to the US – this scheme has grown.

Like leaf showed in a series of reports in December, smugglers working to promote irregular migration from Mexico to the US profit from the rent of Brazilian children. For $3,000, they deliver a minor to customers who want the assurance of crossing the border through the method. These people use false documents, through criminal schemes, to prove the link.

Interlocutors involved in the investigation of cases like this also said that there are situations of migrants who surrendered to the American authorities tired of the journey with their children in the USA.

US deportees reported to the leaf humiliation, racism and ill-treatment suffered during attempts to enter the country. Stories of abuse are recurrent among migrants held in detention centers after having failed to cross the border with Mexico.

Weekly, Brazilians are repatriated on flights chartered by the US government that generally arrive at Confins airport. According to data from the Federal Police, there were 1,304 people in 2020 and 2021.

The terminal is chosen for disembarkation because 70% of those who return are from Minas Gerais. Despite this statistic, Brazilian authorities have already raised the alarm with other states. After Minas Gerais, most migrants come from Rondônia and Espírito Santo. It was from Rondônia, for example, that Lenilda dos Santos, 49, who in September last year died of thirst in a desert near the border, left after being abandoned by the coyote that accompanied her.

Brazil is the sixth country with the most migrants detained in 2021 on the border between Mexico and the US — behind Mexico itself, the nations of the Northern Triangle (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) and Ecuador. Arrests reached the highest mark in history in fiscal 2021, which ended in September.

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