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Jewish Refugees in Ecuador Concerned over New Regulations for Immigrants

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Two recent government directives ordering stricter control over immigrants are causing much concern among the 5,000 European refugees here, the majority of whom are Jewish.

On the occasion of Ecuador’s declaration of war against Japan, Minister of Government Carlos Gueverra Moreno sent a letter to the newly-appointed Director of Immigration, Ramiro Borja y Borja, asking for closer supervision of the activities of foreigners. He recommended that action be taken against immigrants who received visas upon their promises to engage in agriculture, but who are not doing so. This would affect particularly the Jewish refugees, the bulk of whom are professionals and business men.

Subsequently, Borja sent a circular to all government officials urging a curb on “the great number of aliens who constantly violate our regulations.”

Up to now there has been no attempt to force the immigrants into agriculture despite their pledges. In fact, Ecuador, under the leadership of President Velasco Ibarra, has had an exceedingly liberal policy towards immigrants. Ibarra, himself a political exile for eight years, has repeatedly expressed his friendship for refugees.

So far, there have been no cases of the new directives being enforced and it is hoped that the position of the immigrants will remain unchanged.

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