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Nathalie Cely speaks to Radio Quito about Barack Obama’s proposed immigration reform

Source: El Comercio

Nathalie Cely, Ecuador’s ambassador to the US, was interviewed by telephone from Washington on Thursday afternoon (January 31) by Andrés Carrión during the “Regresando con Andrés Carrión” radio program.

The main theme of the interview was US President Barack Obama’s proposed immigration reforms.

Cely reminded the listeners of the statements made on Monday by the eight Republican and Democratic senators on their approach to immigration reform and Obama’s announcement, made on Tuesday, on the same issue.

“While President Obama believes that there should be requirements that need to be met in order to grant citizenship for undocumented immigrants and that the process should be flexible and swift, the Congressmen spoke of greater security and border control,” said Cely.

“It’s a negotiation process,” she said, because on the one hand Congress has a specific plan for farm workers and same-sex marriages. Cely believes that Obama began with an ambitious reform as it includes all the principles of American liberalism.

“The president believes that all families should benefit and Republicans don’t think so.” Similarly, the most conservative voices and certain media outlets, do not accept Obama’s approach.

“Beyond public policy, this is an issue that touches human lives, where these lives and family unity are paramount,” said Cely, recalling Obama’s words. Immigration reform “reveals a commitment, won by the Latino vote, in his second term,” she noted.

Reforms are expected to be ready by summer, according to the Ambassador. “Immigration rates have fallen, so this is the best time for there to be reform in the US.”

Trade relations with the U.S.

Trade relations with the U.S. have improved while exports to Europe have fallen, according to Cely. She also noted that in 2011 a record was broken with a $ 2.2 million in non-oil exports. “Ecuador is the second largest growing market in the region for U.S. exports.”

“Ecuador is becoming a very important market for the US and the region.” By November 2012 we had exceeded the USD 2.2 million, she said.

Cely referred to the advantages enjoyed by Ecuador of being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Under the ‘Most Favored Nation’ system, which provides benefits such as tariff reduction, Ecuadorian exports totaled USD 3.8 million in products such as bananas and shrimp.

Quito’s New Airport

“It is excellent news that we have a new airport,” said the Ambassador. In addition, with respect to the inconveniences of construction, she called for “good spirits to handle this new era.” She also recalled that this project will bring many benefits to the country.

The Ambassador said that “we are working on the establishing direct flights from Chicago”.

“Many major investments in infrastructure are on the way,” she said, adding that logistics are a key issue that needs to be taken advantage of for increasing exports.

Pedro Delgado

“It is a very sensitive issue,” she said about the case of Pedro Delgado, former director of the Central Bank, who admitted to having falsely claimed obtaining an economics degree.

“On the diplomatic front we were able to revoke his visa. Deportation is a power of the US authorities, we are unsure if his lawyers have asked for a visa or political asylum, “said Cely.

Delgado may remain in the U.S. as ‘migrant in waiting status” while the U.S. government responds to the issue, either deporting or granting a visa or political asylum.

With regard to the elections in Ecuador, the Ambassador said that there is no concern about the electoral process and that democracy lives in Ecuador.

Finally, Carrion asked the Ambassador about the Chilean journalist’s claim that the CIA allegedly conspired against President Correa. Cely said that the US categorically denies these allegations and that “the Ecuadorian government has every right to investigate any claims of attacks on the president’s life.”