Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is under investigation back home for possible involvement in a coup attempt, hopes to extend his stay in Florida and has submitted an application to authorities for 6-month tourist visa. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a visa extension that would allow him to remain in the United States amid mounting legal troubles back home.
AG Immigration, a California-based law firm representing Bolsonaro, said U.S. immigration officials had confirmed receipt of his application for a six-month tourist visa on Friday, Financial Times reported.
Bolsonaro, who arrived in the United States ahead of the inauguration of his successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Jan. 1, is under investigation for any role he may have played in inciting riots earlier this month in which thousands of his supporters attacked federal buildings in Brasilia following his defeat in a general election in October.
Bolsonaro repeatedly questioned the integrity of the electoral system in the run-up to the vote -- and afterward by mounting a legal challenge to have some votes cast on voting machines thrown out.
AG founder Felipe Alexandre said that Bolsonaro, who entered the country last month on a visa for diplomats and heads of state that is set to expire in 30 days, hopes to "clear his head and enjoy being a tourist for a few months before deciding what his next step will be.
Bolsonaro claimed on social media earlier this month that he was undergoing a medical procedure at an Orlando hospital connected with a 2018 stabbing, and Alexandre said he likely planned to remain in the state.
"I think Florida will be his temporary home away from home," AG founder Felipe Alexandre told Financial Times. "Right now with his situation, I think he needs a little stability."
However, his request is likely to run into stiff opposition from Democratic lawmakers in Washington who have compared the riots in Brasilia to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Earlier this month a group of 41 Democrats, led by Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, wrote to the Biden administration, demanding Bolsonaro's visa be revoked and urging full cooperation with Brazilian authorities investigating the Brasilia riots which they compared to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
''The United States must not provide shelter for him, or any authoritarian who has inspired such violence against democratic institutions,'' the letter read.
Bolsonaro's former justice minister, Anderson Torres, who was also holidaying in the United States at the time of the riots, was arrested on his return to Brazil on Jan. 14. He is under investigation for failing to act in his role as security chief to quash the pro-Bolsonaro riots on Jan. 8.