The number of Brazilian immigrants detained while trying to cross the US border has increased more than tenfold in a year and reached 18,000 cases in 2019.
According to data released by the Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP), this is the highest since 2007 and represents a 600% increase over the peak of 3,252 people in 2016.
In 2018, just over 1,600 undocumented Brazilians attempted to reach the US through Mexico, and Immigration and Customs Agency (ICE) arrested them.
In the fiscal year 2019 - from October 2018 to September of the current year - these rates rose to 18,000 people and even surprised Brazilian government officials working with immigration proceedings.
According to Brazil's foreign ministry, at least three factors explain the exponential escalation: the first is Donald Trump's aggressive policy against undocumented foreigners, coupled with the increasing difficulty of the US government issuing visas for those born in Brazil.
The Brazilian boom, they say, may be related to the Republican's rhetoric that he will build a wall on the Mexican border and his administration's actions that have accelerated the express deportation of undocumented migrants.
This creates the feeling that immigration to the United States should be done now or never, speeding up processes that could be planned in the medium or long term.
Despite the good relationship speech between Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, diplomats say that issuing visas--including tourist visas--to Brazilians has taken longer than usual. Those born in certain cities, such as Governador Valadares (MG), have had almost absolute restrictions on applying for travel to the US.
The region has historical relations with the Americans. Since a US factory was set up there during World War II, many residents have claimed the right to live on US territory because of family ties created in Minas Gerais.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon