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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 18:09 GMT
Brazil continues to check US IDs
US traveller being handed flowers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Officials in Rio are using flowers to welcome fingerprinted US tourists
The Brazilian Government will go on with its controversial policy of extra security checks on US citizens.

A federal judge had overturned a previous ruling in Brazil's tourism capital, Rio de Janeiro, to carry out fingerprint checks on US travellers.

But an executive order said the requirement would continue for 30 days while the situation is studied.

Rio authorities, fearing a blow to tourism, have started giving US visitors flowers and T-shirts.

Tourism fears

The gifts, including T-shirts saying "Rio loves you", are being handed out because of the discomfort being suffered by the US travellers, who spend around $250m in Rio each year.

The gesture follows complaints from the Rio authorities at the new security checks - which they say will prevent tourists from visiting the city and boosting its economy.

They want the issue resolved before their famous carnival begins next month.

At present all US visitors to Brazil must be photographed and fingerprinted.

Someone giving their fingerprint
US travellers are facing tough immigration checks in Brazil
The measures, which have caused long delays for travellers, are a response to similar rules recently introduced in the United States.

The Brazilian Government said that, during the 30-day period, ministers will review the effect the policy is having on the country's tourism industry.

BBC correspondent Steve Kingstone in Brazil says the best hope for an early truce in the passport wars is for the two countries' presidents to reach a private agreement at the Summit of the Americas, which continues in Mexico on Tuesday.

Mounting frustration

When the measures were initially introduced in Rio, incoming US flight passengers were delayed for up to nine hours while security officials ran identification checks.

"It is very frustrating to come to Brazil and spend 45 minutes in the line after long hours on the plane," said Olivia Doerhe, a 20-year-old student from Iowa.

She said it took the officials 10 minutes to take her fingerprints and photographs.

The original judge's order to check Americans was made in response to a US announcement that it would vet visitors from many countries outside of the EU for security reasons.

Brazil's Federal Public Ministry filed a complaint in a federal court over the US immigration measures, arguing its citizens were being unfairly discriminated against and urging the US to remove Brazil from its list of security threats.

The US-VISIT security system is meant to identify travellers who have violated immigration controls, have criminal records or belong to groups listed as terrorist organisations by the US.

Many saw the decision by Brazil to counteract the US security procedure with its own law as a tit-for-tat response, which has since backfired.

Rio mayor slams US visitor rules
03 Jan 04  |  Americas
Brazil to fingerprint US citizens
31 Dec 03  |  Americas
Hi-tech checks for US visitors
20 May 03  |  Americas
US imposes new visitor regulations
18 Dec 02  |  Americas

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