Ecuadoreans Want Their Government to Apply for TPS

Ecuadoreans supported the telethon held to raise money for the earthquake victims. (Photo via El Diario)

Ecuadoreans supported the telethon held to raise money for the earthquake victims. (Photo via El Diario)

A month has passed since the earthquake that devastated the coastal regions of Ecuador leaving 650 dead and some 30,000 homeless. With the country still in a state of emergency, Ecuadoreans in the tri-state area are disappointed about their government’s reluctance to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

On Sunday, the group Migrantes Unidos por Ecuador (“United Migrants for Ecuador”) held a telethon in Queens’ Flushing Meadows Park to raise funds for the victims. While there was a general sense of solidarity, an air of discomfort was evident among Ecuadorean immigrants, who want their country’s government to apply for TPS in the United States.

Linda Machuca, consul general of Ecuador in New York, met with community activists and said that, in the next few days, the Chancellor’s Office would divulge the country’s official position regarding TPS. However, the diplomat said that she does not believe that Ecuador is in a poor enough condition to require such immigration action.

“When a country applies for TPS, it is telling the world that it lacks security conditions for its citizens. As a result, the U.S. would have to offer this protection by sparing Ecuadoreans from deportation. That is the [Temporary Protected] Status’ consideration, but this is not the case with Ecuador,” said Machuca.

The consul pointed out that Ecuador is not in a situation where it is devastated or suffering from total destruction. She added that the government is handling the emergency by assisting the population, and that cases like this one do not qualify for TPS.

Ecuadoreans in the tri-state area have a different opinion.

Edgar Moreno, from Rocafuerte, in the Manabí province, said that the delay of his country’s government to apply for TPS is unacceptable. “[Ecuador] has not seen a worse tragedy in 100 years. Correa needs to act with sensibility. If the U.S. wants to lend us a hand, the help cannot be rejected.”

“With the TPS, we will be able to work and help our families and our country recover,” said María Quishpe, from Cuenca.

Carlos Cedeño, from Guayaquil, agreed. “We are all affected by this. Even if we didn’t suffer losses, we have solidarity with the victims. The TPS is a relief that Ecuador should not pass on. The government needs to come to its senses.”

Dozens of Ecuadoreans in Flushing signed a petition to ask their country’s government to apply for TPS. (Photo via El Diario)

Dozens of Ecuadoreans in Flushing signed a petition to ask their country’s government to apply for TPS. (Photo via El Diario)

Walter Sinche, president of the Alianza Ecuatoriana Internacional organization, said that by the end of the telethon 2,120 people had signed the petition. The group will continue to collect signatures during the next few weeks.

In the days following the earthquake, several local and federal elected officials spoke in favor of granting TPS to Ecuadoreans living in the U.S. New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio and all Democratic Congress members in Washington sent independent messages to Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama asking for the application of the measure.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency has stated that TPS would be a viable option but that the Ecuadorean government would have to apply for it.

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  1. Pingback: NY Ecuadorians Say Pressure Led to TPS Request

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