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Last Updated: Monday, 5 January, 2004, 20:35 GMT
Brazil anger over US security checks

By Steve Kingstone
BBC correspondent in Sao Paulo

US citizen is photographed by a Brazilian immigration officer at Brazil's Guarulhos International airport in Sao Paulo
The decision has led to long delays at immigration

The new US security procedures have drawn a sharp response from Brazil, which has begun taking fingerprints of all US citizens arriving in the country.

The move has caused problems at airports in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

The decision to register visitors was taken by federal judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva, who said the new US immigration policy was brutal, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis.

His retaliatory ruling means that from now, all US travellers arriving in Brazil be both fingerprinted and then photographed holding a card bearing their name.

Delays

At Sao Paulo's international airport, where thousands of US citizens arrive every day, the move has led to long delays at immigration.

"They put all of the Americans in one line and sort of delayed our arrival for a bit," one man said.

"[They] just asked us questions, just basically made us wait."

Another woman said: "The Americans have a motive for checking because of our risks with terrorism."

"I don't think Brazil has... [the] same level of risk, but I understand why they are doing it."

Bad for business?

Having made its point, the question is, what does Brazil do now?

In Rio de Janeiro, the country's main tourist destination, city officials want the judge's ruling to be overturned.

They say treating US visitors like criminals is bad for business.

The country's government has appealed to Washington to exempt Brazilians from the new US procedures.

But so far, there has been no response.


SEE ALSO:
US introduces new security checks
05 Jan 04  |  Americas
US Security checks: Your reaction
05 Jan 04  |  Have Your Say
Rio starts ID checks on US flyers
04 Jan 04  |  Americas
US imposes new visitor regulations
18 Dec 02  |  Americas


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