Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ecuador Still Helping Unknowns From All Over The World Get To The U.S. Border

After several suspected ISIS operatives were caught, Ecuador is cracking down a little on the human smuggler’s paradise it has created.
At a Mexican migrant camp on the Rio Grande across from Texas late this summer, Cameroonian migrant John Ameh said he had been in Nigeria, crowded among other Cameroonian refugees of an armed conflict, when he first heard about a South American mecca where anyone from anywhere in the world could fly in without a visa or permission.
The country was Ecuador. He paid two Nigerians $2,500 to buy the tickets for him to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. Once inside the country of the Galapagos Islands, Ameh — and many other Cameroonians who came before and after him this year — was given to understand they would be within easy striking distance of the U.S. southern border.
“It was the first time I ever thought I could go to America,” he told me in the native English of that country’s conflict-torn anglophone regions, in the Mexican border city of Acuna. “I found some other blacks who said they were heading up north to the United States. I just went with them.”
Within a month or so, a long hike through the Columbia-Panama jungle and a series of bus rides brought him and dozens of other Cameroonians, Congolese, Angolans, and Ghanaians to the Mexican side of the Texas border, where they looked for a way over to a new life.
But Ecuador’s front door recently slammed shut on many Africans and Middle-Easterners who have been using it as their visa-free entrance through an American back door broken down by 1 million Central Americans. Among the least covered and least known of the Trump administration’s efforts to end a mass migration crisis — to include historic new swells of “extra-continental” migrants from the undeveloped world and Muslim-majority countries — was a pressure campaign to have Ecuador curtail its visa-free policy, according to several Department of Homeland Security law enforcement sources who were not authorized to speak on the record.
In August, partly because Nicaragua had apprehended suspected ISIS operatives from Iraq, Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced with no fanfare that it has increased the number of countries whose citizens will now need a “special visa” to enter the country. Ecuadorian officials emphasized that citizens from more than 90 percent of the world’s countries can still enter with only their passports.
But in part due to “human trafficking” and “possible terrorist activities,” no longer will that privilege apply to travelers from the ISIS havens of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, as well as those from Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, India, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sri Lanka.
Read the rest from Todd Bensman HERE at The Federalist.

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