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Photo: “11/07/2019 Solenidade de Posse do Diretor-Geral da ABIN, Alexandre Ramagem“, by Palácio do Planalto licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original

Filomeno, Felipe A., and Thomas J. Vicino. “The Evolution of Authoritarianism and Restrictionism in Brazilian Immigration Policy: Jair Bolsonaro in Historical Perspective.” Bulletin of Latin American Research (2020).


Research on immigration politics has been focused on countries of the Global North. Latin America is often discussed only as a migrant‐sending region. This study offers a comparative‐historical analysis of Brazilian immigration policy from national independence to the present day. Based on archival research and synthesis of multiple documentation sources, the study finds an affinity between authoritarian politics and immigration restrictionism in the country, which is consistent with theories that link liberal democracy to pro‐immigrant policies. Brazilian authoritarian leaders have framed immigrants as threats to the security, order, and culture of the nation to justify tighter controls on immigration. The study concludes that immigration restrictionism can develop in the Global South with discourses strikingly similar to those circulated in the Global North. The findings also suggest that Brazil is still far from the ideal of a multiracial liberal democracy.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.