Immigration Detention in Ecuador

Ecuador has been widely lauded for adopting the principle of “universal citizenship” in its 2008 Constitution. However, in recent years, the country seems to have backtracked with respect to its reception of migrants and asylum seekers. Although it is one of the most important countries of refuge in Latin America, hosting tens of thousands of refugees from Colombia, Ecuador has recently sought to narrow the definition of refugee and its asylum recognition rate has plummeted. It has also begun imposing visa restrictions for people from many countries in Asia and Africa. This more restrictive migration environment has appeared to parallel stepped up detention and deportation efforts. During 2010-2011, for instance, authorities conducted massive immigration control operations aimed at rounding up people from Colombia, Cuba, and Pakistan. In 2010, 2,662 non-citizens were reportedly placed in immigration detention, compared to 1,338 in 2008.