Democrats have found one high-profile immigrant they want to see deported: former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
A group of senators announced legislation this week to deny Mr. Bolsonaro a visa to enter or remain in the U.S., accusing him of having undermined election integrity in his country.
“America must never become a safe haven for anyone who assaults the values for which our nation stands: democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and the sanctity of free and fair elections,” said Sen. Richard Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who is sponsoring the bill along with Sens. Mazie Hirono, Hawaii Democrat, and Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent.
Mr. Bolsonaro is in Florida, staying at a home near Orlando, according to local news accounts.
He lost his reelection bid last year and questioned the veracity of the result in moves that drew comparisons to former President Donald Trump’s handling of the 2020 election in the U.S.
Fueling the parallel, Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters stormed government buildings on Jan. 8, taking over the Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace buildings.
Earlier this month Mr. Durbin wrote a letter to President Biden asking him to revoke Mr. Bolsonaro’s diplomatic visa in order to “render him deportable.”
“I urge you to use all available authorities under our immigration laws to ensure that former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is not permitted to remain in the United States,” he told the president.
His new legislation would empower the secretary of state to determine if a foreign official has interfered in an election or transfer of power, then the person would be denied admission to the U.S.
Mr. Durbin, in announcing his bill on the Senate floor Thursday, said Mr. Bolsonaro belongs in the same category as human traffickers, drug smugglers and money launderers who are barred from obtaining visas.
The senator also tied Mr. Bolsonaro to Mr. Trump, recounting the Brazilian’s “baseless lies” that left his supporters to question the integrity of Brazil’s elections, then protested at government buildings.
“Sound familiar?” Mr. Durbin said.