Criticizing a government program to recruit Cuban doctors, presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso said Thursday that Ecuador may have gone too far in its ‘open border’ immigration policy. In particular, he said the country should make sure those who want to stay long-term provide a benefit to Ecuador.
Lasso said an earlier statement, “Ecuador for Ecuadorians and Cuba for Cubans,” had been misinterpreted. “I am not against inviting talented foreigners to our country, including the doctors from Cuba, but it should not be a government-to-government program, it should be arranged by doctors and the medical profession, and person-to-person.”
He made his comments during a visit with faculty and students at San Francisco University in Quito.
Lasso said that he does not object, in principle, to the government’s concept of “greater human mobility across international border,” but says he favors a higher degree of discretion in admitting foreigners, especially those who will become residents.
“We need foreign talent, especially entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, and artists, and after they are properly vetted, they are welcome,” Lasso said. “I question, however, the idea of simply throwing our borders open to all comers. We will welcome tourists but we must consider carefully those who come to Ecuador to stay. They must fulfill a useful purpose.”