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Ecuador’s immigration policy does not help terrorists

Ecuador’s immigration policy does not help terrorists

Otto Reich and Ezequiel Vázquez Ger’s reckless and illogical column ("How Ecuador’s immigration policy helps al Qaeda") says more about the authors’ desire to baselessly attack the government of Ecuador than their ability to offer readers any substantial insight into foreign policy.

Reich and Vázquez Ger routinely stumble over irrational arguments in attempts to undermine our country’s burgeoning democracy, but this piece marks a new low, even for them. They attack Ecuador for opening "the floodgates" to nationals from Pakistan and other countries, and accuse our immigration policy of facilitating "transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups" that want to harm the United States. In their insistence on profiling against Pakistanis, Reich and Vázquez Ger seem to have forgotten that the United States itself is home to hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis and that the Pakistani-American population doubled from 2000 to 2010.

Ecuador is a peaceful country and by no means supports or facilitates any terrorist activity. Recently, support from the Ecuadorian Justice Department led to the capture of three men suspected by the United States of support for terrorism, including Irfan Ul Haq, referenced as a threat in the authors’ column. The men were deported from Ecuador to the United States and sentenced to multiple years in prison this week.

Ecuador’s immigration policy reflects our values as a nation. We are inclusive and welcoming of foreigners from across the world. That’s part of the reason why thousands of American seniors have chosen Ecuador as a retirement destination. Reich and Vázquez Ger would serve Foreign Policy’s readers better by sticking to the facts rather than inventing conspiracy theories.

Nathalie Cely is Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States.