NY Ecuadoreans to Request Immediate TPS Approval in Washington

Martha Gualotunai, who has not been to her native Ecuador in 21 years, will travel to Washington on Monday to request that the TPS is approved. (Photo by Edwin Martínez via El Diario)

Martha Gualotunai, who has not been to her native Ecuador in 21 years, will travel to Washington on Monday to request that TPS is approved. (Photo by Edwin Martínez via El Diario)

A month ago, after an earthquake devastated Ecuador’s coastal region of Manabí in April, the country’s government formally asked the U.S. to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to Ecuadoreans. Now, advocates are planning to go to Washington personally to call on the Barack Obama administration to approve it as soon as possible.

Oswaldo Guzmán, president of the Comité Cívico Ecuatoriano – Ecuadorian Civic Committee – announced that a delegation consisting of activists, consuls and Ecuadorean citizens will travel from New York to the capital on Monday to put pressure on the authorities.

“We leave at 5 in the morning, and our intention is that President Obama makes a show of support so that our compatriots can have this relief and go back [home] to lend a hand,” said the organizer. “Whoever wants to join us may call (917) 225-4509.”

For her part, Consul General in New York Linda Machuca said that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s administration is fully supporting the TPS request.

“Two months ago, we had an earthquake in Ecuador that has caused much suffering to entire families, but it has also given many Ecuadoreans the opportunity to obtain TPS. We expect a positive reply to our request,” said the diplomat.

TPS would grant temporary legal status to undocumented Ecuadoreans living in the U.S. It is estimated that the relief would benefit nearly 250,000 people like Martha Gualotunai, who has not returned to Ecuador in 21 years. “When I came here from Ecuador, I left five children behind. The youngest one was 11 months old. I haven’t seen them since then. That’s why I am praying for the TPS to be approved so I can see my family,” she said.

Rosita Cali, from the Asociación de Líderes Latinoamericanos – Association of Latin American Leaders – asked her compatriots to unite in this appeal, which will benefit the community as a whole.

“This is a basic necessity, and it is urgent to activate this relief for our Ecuadorean compatriots,” said Cali.

Rafael Correa’s administration formally applied for TPS in May, after community leaders and even political figures such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked the U.S. government to grant TPS. The earthquake that shook the coastal region of Ecuador left more than 600 dead and thousands of people affected.

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