At the beginning of the year, the Jair Bolsonaro administration announced that Brazil was pulling out of the United Nations Global Compact for Migration, signed by 164 countries in December of last year. The move was a campaign promise — and in line with what Brazilians think about immigration. A recent Datafolha poll shows that 67 percent of voters believe the country should have stricter immigration laws. Until very recently, immigrants were a complete non-issue in the political debate, but that changed when neighbors Venezuela fell into a downward spiral, causing millions to flee that country.
But despite the government’s aggressive stance on immigrants, they account for only 0.4 percent of the population — around 750,000 people, in a country of 207 million residents. Even the number of recognized refugees is low. According to the Ministry of Justice, there were only 5,134 people with such status on Brazilian soil last year. For comparison’s sake, Germany, a country of 82 million people, is home to 699,482 refugees.