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Ecuador: National Assembly Approves Amendment to Law on Human Mobility

(Mar. 26, 2021) On February 5, 2021, Ecuador’s National Assembly approved reforms to the Organic Law of Human Mobility.

Among other measures, the changes provide new grounds for the inadmissibility and deportation of foreign citizens. The amendments allow deportation of aliens through administrative procedure.

Ecuador’s new rules prohibit admission of foreign nationals who use false documentation to enter the country; are prohibited from entry because of a prior deportation or immigration offense; have not complied with the legal deadline to return to their home country, in accordance with the provisions of criminal law in the case of expulsion; lack a valid travel document or visa, except in the case of applicants for international protection; are considered a threat or risk to the public security and structure of the state; intentionally try to evade migration controls; obstruct the work of immigration control authorities; lack a vaccination card or health certificate required by law; try to enter the country after not attending a prior deportation procedure; or have evaded immigration exit controls.

The reform legislation states that immigration authorities will enforce the new rules in compliance with the due process guarantees of Ecuador’s Constitution.

Applicants for international protection status such as refuge or asylum will not be subject to the inadmissibility grounds.

The new grounds for deportation are as follows:

  • entry in the country through an unauthorized place, except for persons subject to international protection,
  • showing fraudulent or altered documentation to any public authority,
  • noncompliance with the immigration regularization process within the time frame required by law,
  • repeated immigration offenses,
  • having a visa revoked and missing the deadline for leaving the country,
  • noncompliance with a notification to depart the country within 30 days,
  • being considered a threat or risk to the public safety and structure of the state, according to the information available to the pertinent authorities,
  • being convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than five years, or
  • being criminally sanctioned for altering and endangering the tranquility and peace or disrupting public order.

These amendments are aimed at strengthening control of immigration, allowing authorities to carry out deportations in an expedited manner. Ecuador’s president reportedly called for the amendments because of the recent increase in crimes perpetrated by foreigners in the country.