Brazil closes border to Venezuelans after mass crossings: official

Brazil closed its northern border to Venezuelans on Monday to slow mass migration from the South American country saddled with a crippling political and economic crisis, police said.

The measure follows a federal judge’s decision on Sunday that puts a stop to the entry of more Venezuelans until a greater number of immigrants from the economically beset South American nation are transferred elsewhere in Brazil.

The border remains open to Brazilians and other nationalities, as well as to Venezuelans seeking to return to their home country, officials said.

It’s a main crossing point for tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants, an influx that has increased dramatically over the past two years.

While the suspension is indefinite, the Brazilian administration is seeking to overturn or halt the ruling.

President Michel Temer is opposed in a “non-negotiable” way to the border closure, Human Rights Minister Gustavo Rocha was quoted as saying by state-run Agencia Brasil.

Roraima state’s capital Boa Vista has hosted the largest number of Venezuelan immigrants in the country — around 25,000 out of a total of 330,000 city dwellers.

An estimated 500 Venezuelans cross the land border into Brazil each day.

Roraima Governor Suely Campos applauded the federal judge’s ruling.

“We have been asking the federal Supreme Court since May to close the border, as well as for financial assistance to minimize the impact on our public services,” Mr. Campos said in a statement.

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