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Ecuador tightens restrictions on Venezuelan immigrants

By David McMillan
Staff Writer

Migrants await action from Ecuador’s government. (AP Photo)

In this year alone, 547,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador, and more are to come, according to UN News.

“‘To return is to die. If we have to die here looking for a better life for our families, then we’ll die, a Venezuelan migrant told Al Jazeera. “‘It’s better than dying in Venezuela (and) not doing anything.’”

Since the first week of August, 30,000 Venezuelans have entered the country, according to UN News.

Chavismo, the left-wing political ideology of former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, continues to influence policy decisions of incumbent Nicolás Maduro. Venezuela fell prey to economic policies of price controls for essential goods and an overdependence on oil exports, according to The New York Times.

While trying to keep goods affordable for the poor, Venezuela artificially set prices lower than manufacturing costs, which caused producers to halt production of essential goods. The result was scarcity of food, medicine and toilet paper. To compensate for these failed policies, the Venezuelan government has been pressured to print more money, resulting in hyperinflation, according to The New York Times.

The foreign ministry of Ecuador stated that it invited Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, México, Peru, Paraguay, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela to a meeting in September in Quito, the nation’s capital. The scheduled discussions will include sharing and implementing policy strategies to avoid further migratory chaos, according to VOA News.

As reported by Reuters, Ecuador has declared a state of emergency in three provinces: Carchi, Pichincha and El Oro. Despite these areas being on the northern end of the border, all of Ecuador is experiencing the effects of the influx of migrants.

According to The New York Times, 20 percent of migrants are expected to apply for asylum, while the other 80 percent will seek economic opportunities in Chile and Peru.

As specified under immigration law within Ecuador, citizens of any country can stay in Ecuador for up to 90 days on a non-resident Visa, according to Reuters. If individuals seek to obtain resident visas, then there are a range of options available for students, workers and tourists.

However, a new regulation instituted by Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno mandates that migrants are only permitted in the nation with a valid passport. Additionally, there is a provision that allows entry of adolescents traveling with their parents, according to Reuters.

These new bylaws prove to be a complication, as most individuals who have reached the nation or who were in transport prior to Aug. 18 have not been readily admitted within the state because of failure to provide adequate documentation. Migrants are waiting for government action that will allow their passage through Ecuador, according to BBC.


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