Ecuador has activated a “consular contingency plan” to defend the rights of Ecuadorian migrants in the United States, according to Foreign Minister Guillaume Long. The announcement follows a number of executive orders by President Donald Trump aimed at changing U.S. immigration policy.
Long acknowledged that the move is a direct response to Trump’s recent orders concerning immigration policy.
“Although we know very little about how the new policies will affect Ecuadorians living in the United States at this point, we are mobilizing to provide the additional services they might need,” Long said.
He said the plan includes the extension of working hours at Ecuadorian consulates, the addition of a 1-800 telephone line, and legal counseling. “Most of our migrants know what their rights are but there are some who don’t,” he said. “We want them to know that their government will protect them to the extent that it can and provide the services they need.”
Long, who was in the U.S. last week on a UN mission, said he had anticipated Trump’s declarations and had consulted with legal advisors and organizations that work with Ecuadorian migrants.
“Fortunately, the vast majority of Ecuadorians in the U.S. live in so-called sanctuary states or cities that have some autonomy from the federal government,” said Long. “Trump signed an order to deny funding to these local governments but the litigation for this will take years to go through the courts. Most of our people are safe for now.”
According to Long, “Unity among Latin American nations is critical in regard to our relations with the U.S. Things are very confused right now and we hope to know more soon.”