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May 12, 2023

Brazilian Nationals Caught Entering Belize Illegally

Tens of thousands of migrants have gathered at the U.S./Mexico border seeking asylum, less than twenty-four hours after the United States ended an immigration policy that prohibited the entry of persons who potentially pose a health risk.  Title 42 expulsions, as they are known, were removals by the U.S. government of persons who had recently been in a country where a communicable disease was present.  In 2020, the Trump administration used a provision, Title 42 of the United States Code, to block land entry for almost three million migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic.  With the expiration of Title 42, an increase in migrants was anticipated.  In Belize City earlier today, ten Brazilian nationals, believed to have been heading north, were arraigned on immigration offenses, following the discovery of a possible human smuggling ring.  Along with the adults were five minors who reportedly entered the country by crossing the Mopan River in Benque Viejo.  Shortly before midday, the group appeared unrepresented before Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford where they were each read a single charge of illegal entry.  They all pleaded guilty to the charge brought against them.  Instead of imposing a fine, the Immigration Department took into consideration the fact that the adults had been separated from the five children who were placed in the custody of the Department of Human Services.  As such, the department sought and was granted their removal from the country at the earliest time.   The mandatory minimum fine for such an offense is one thousand dollars or, in default, six months in prison.

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