Crowds overwhelm Civil Registry sites after Mexico announces visa requirement for Ecuadorians
After Tuesday’s announcement that Mexico was reinstating a visa requirement for Ecuadorian travelers, the size of crowds outside Cuenca’s Civil Registry office has more than doubled. Those waiting to apply for passports, including many who spend the night in line, are trying to beat the September 4 date when the new requirement goes into effect.
The requirement follows last week’s announcement that Ecuadorians entering Mexico would need to show return air tickets and proof of tourist accommodations during their stay in the country.
On Wednesday, Civil Registry staff issued more than 250 passports, a single day record, but announced that future appointments for passports must be made on line.
Mexico’s new rules follow a record numbers of Ecuadorians entering the country, the majority of them planning to continue to the U.S. border to attempt illegal entry. Concerned about increasing numbers of deaths and disappearances, the Ecuadorian government supports the new measures. “We are receiving hundreds of requests for information about missing family members trying to enter the U.S. without visas,” the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. “Since most of those missing have hired unlicensed travel coordinators, we are unable to provide assistance. We fear that many tragedies are unfolding at the border.”
Another reason the ministry wants to stop the flow of Ecuadorians to Mexico is because of the high number of deportations. So far in 2021, 71,000 Ecuadorian citizens have been deported from the U.S. while an estimated 55,000 have attempted to enter illegally.
According to the national Civil Registry, the Cuenca office has processed more passport applications than any other office in the country.