US Senator Lindsey Graham said in an interview on Wednesday (13) that thousands of wealthy Brazilians were illegally crossing the US-Mexico border into Connecticut “wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags.”
Graham, critical of President Joe Biden’s government immigration policies, had recently visited the Arizona state border. In interview with the american broadcaster Fox News, the Republican senator stated:
“We’ve had 40,000 Brazilians just coming through the Yuma sector into Connecticut wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags. This is no longer economic migration. People are seeing the US open. They are taking advantage of us. for a terrorist to enter the crowd.”
During the interview, Graham also criticized the US government’s decision to cancel police raids on workplaces that resulted in mass arrests of migrants. According to him, this will be an incentive for people to go to the country illegally. “You come, you apply for asylum, you never leave. Biden’s political choices are all over the world now,” he said.
Lindsey Graham gave more details about her statement regarding Brazilians in an interview with Washington Post.
“Usually when you go to the border, you see people dressed in worn clothes and who look like they’ve been through hell,” he said. “This time, in Yuma, there were dozens of people who seemed to be arriving to check into a hotel – and well dressed.”
“This is something new,” he added. “I would advise the Biden administration to do what the Obama administration did and send them back on flights.”
According to the senator, Connecticut was one of the destinations for Brazilians, in addition to two other states that he could not remember which they were, based on what a Border Patrol agent informed him.
Kevin Bishop, a spokesman for Graham, told the Washington Post that the senator only reported what he saw during his trip to the border, and sent photographs of bags and shoes made locally to the newspaper.
“Thousands of Brazilians arrived there. As Senator Graham noted in Yuma, the baggage [dos imigrantes] it was better than his own,” Bishop said.
According to the Post, none of the luggage appearing in the submitted photos appears to be from the Italian brand Gucci, and the most obvious item of clothing in the photos was a pair of Puma sneakers without laces.
Also according to the spokesman, they saw luggage and clothing that was “highly unusual” for those who were supposedly traveling through the desert, “no mud or dust” and that had airline tags.
“This needs to change. I think what is happening is that they are saying that if you get to the US, you can stay and live here. Brazil is deteriorating now,” said Graham, saying he would talk to the Brazilian ambassador in the country.
Brazilians arrive in the US in record numbers
The Republican senator cited a report by the Yuma County Sheriff that said 3,400 migrants – mostly from Brazil, Venezuela and Cuba – spent the weekend at Border Patrol facilities there.
According to data from the US Customs and Border Protection, Brazilians were arrested in record numbers this year on the country’s southern border. In the first 11 months of 2021, more than 46,200 Brazilians were arrested trying to enter the US, making it the sixth nationality with the most detainees in the country. According to these data, the migration of Brazilians to the US has increased significantly since 2018. In the entire year of 2019, the number of Brazilians imprisoned was around 17,900.