From The Hill:
The [U.S.] House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a 2014 Homeland Security funding bill with a bipartisan voice vote. The bill is expected on the House floor in June. In a surprise development, the committee approved an amendment from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), which would effectively end immigration from Brazil. The provision was included in order to pressure Brazil to extradite Brazilian-born Claudia Hoerig to the United States for trial in the murder of her husband, Air Force Major Karl Hoerig. The Ryan amendment does not affect travel visas or visas for temporary workers, an aide said.
If passed, the amendment would defund USCIS operations that involve processing immigration applications from Brazilian nationals.
Em português, do Estado de São Paulo:
Ao aprovar na quarta-feira, 22, um projeto de lei para liberar recursos para a segurança interna dos Estados Unidos em 2014, o Comitê de Finanças da Câmara dos Deputados avalizou emenda que impede a emissão de visto de residência permanente para cidadãos brasileiros nos Estados Unidos. O projeto de lei será submetido ao plenário da Câmara em junho e, se vier a ser aprovado pelas duas casas do Congresso americano, comprometerá o atual esforço dos EUA de aprofundar sua relação com o Brasil.
It's important to note: Brazil's Constitution prohibits extradition of Brazilians. Plus, it's complicated: Hoerig renounced her Brazilian citizenship when she became a U.S. citizen in 1999, but Brazil's Ministry of Justice never finished processing her paperwork to terminate her citizenship. Since Brazil still considers her a citizen, it won't extradite her, but the U.S. also considers her a citizen.
While it seems unlikely that something this ridiculous could pass, stranger things have happened, and this Congress doesn't exactly have a great track record. It's especially scary because it got tacked on as an amendment and could easily get lost in the fray.
I agree that impunity is a serious problem, and I think others would too. But this is also a sign of how far from reality some members of Congress are in terms of comprehending Brazil's importance to the United States. Brazil and the U.S. may have disagreements when it comes to binational legal disputes like this (see: Goldman case), but this is not something you do to a serious ally. You don't punish people who aren't to blame for the problem.
UPDATE, 6/9: Good news - the House eliminated the language on banning Brazilian immigration from the bill on June 5.
What you can do:
- Contact Vice President Joe Biden, who will be in Brazil next week.
- If you live in the United States, contact your representative.
- If you live in Brazil, contact Itamaraty via email or social media.
- Contact Brazil's Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota.
- Contact Representative Tim Ryan's office via phone, email, or social media.