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Chaos and violence in South American country fuels massive rise in illegal migration to the US


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extreme hd iptv
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by extreme hd iptv

Escalating violence in a once peaceful Ecuador has sparked concerns of a significant rise in migration to the U.S. As the South American country has been rocked by blasts, prison takeovers and mafia activity, thousands of Ecuadorians feel like they have no option but to seek refuge elsewhere. 

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current uptick of disorder, many Ecuadorians have been fleeing “the country of four worlds.” 

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the most common destination for Ecuadorians is the United States, accounting for 41% of emigrants. The non-partisan think tank notes that the most recent exodus has been catalyzed by an escalation in domestic insecurity.

Tucked away between major cocaine-producing countries, Ecuador has been grappling with an alarming rise in gang activity. The increased presence of Mexican and Colombian cartels has rapidly destabilized the country. The situation escalated when more than a dozen armed men invaded a local television station’s live broadcast earlier this month. As simmering tensions have boiled over, Ecuador’s government has declared an all-out war on more than 20,000 criminals.

ECUADOR PROSECUTOR SPEARHEADING PROBE INTO ARMED ATTACK ON TV STATION IS SHOT AND KILLED, COUNTRY’S AG SAYS

Ecuador Violence

Police officers run toward TC Televisión Jan. 9, 2024, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  (Agencia Press South/Contributor)

In an attempt to crack down on persistent gang disturbances, Ecuador has been in a state of emergency since Jan. 9. The 60-day emergency decree comes as the country is facing what President Daniel Noboa describes as an “armed internal conflict.” 

At the heart of Ecuador’s brimming mayhem is a notorious mob boss who remains elusive. Jose Adolfo Macias, also known as Fito, has been on Ecuador’s most wanted list ever since he escaped from prison over the first weekend of the year. Macias and his Los Choneros gang are considered responsible for a spike in bombings, kidnappings and slayings across the nation.

“The worsening violence in Ecuador in recent years has led to a rapid surge in Ecuadorian migration, and the deteriorating conditions will undoubtedly accelerate that trend,” Benjamin Gedan, director of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center, told Fox News Digital. 

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have been grappling with a higher than usual influx of migrants coming from Ecuador over the past several months. In fiscal 2023, the agency encountered a record 117,487 Ecuadorians, marking a staggering 371% increase from 2022. Additionally, there was a 397% rise in the apprehensions of Ecuadorian family units from 2022 to 2023.

Ecuadorian soldiers arrive at prison in Guayaquil

Ecuadorian soldiers arrive at the Zonal 8 prison for an inspection in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Jan. 7. (Reuters/Vicente Gaibor del Pino)

The unprecedented unrest not only continues to pose a formidable challenge to the country, but also sparks fears of overwhelming an already saturated southern U.S. border. 

Over the past two weeks, authorities have managed to quell some of the chaos that has gripped Ecuador. 

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Order has been restored to prisons after days of riots along with the successful release of more than 200 police staff and officers. Authorities have seized large amounts of contraband and narcotics from criminal entities. 

Widespread security operations have led to roughly 2,000 arrests, including hundreds from 22 gangs designated as terrorist organizations. However, the turmoil continues despite the unequipped and inexperienced government’s best efforts.

Migrants at U.S. border.

Illegal migrants gathered at the U.S. southern border in November 2022. (Fox News)

This week, senior officials from the Biden administration gathered with President Noboa and other top Ecuadorian government figures. The meeting was arranged to demonstrate U.S. solidarity with Ecuador following a recent escalation in violence.

The United States is extending its support to the Ecuadorian government by pledging $1 million in critical security and emergency response equipment. The U.S. has also announced the deployment of personnel from both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to bolster security operations in Ecuador.

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However, the international crisis coincides with a domestic challenge — an ongoing deadlock among U.S. lawmakers regarding border policy. When coupled with the escalating threat in Ecuador, the lack of agreement on the border could augment an already chaotic situation. 

As migration north is only expected to grow, experts like Gedan draw attention to the need for a more robust response. Speaking to Fox News Digital, Gedan suggested “the U.S. should encourage a serious response to Ecuador’s security nightmare.”

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