Saturday, May 21, 2011

The "Green Card" In Ecuador

Believe it or not, Ecuador, like the United States, also has a major problem with undocumented illegals- not from the United States, but from countries like Columbia and Peru. To be legal here in Ecuador, in addition to your visa, you need what is called a "cedula," a National Identity document that basically gives you permanent immigration status.(the correct spelling is to have an accent over the "e", but I don't have a Spanish keyboard).This cedula is common in many South American countries. It is a pain administratively to go through the process of obtaining the cedulla, but once you have it, you have many privileges and rights that you would not otherwise have.

Problem is - or was - that up until now, it was relatively easy to duplicate fake cedulas in Ecuador. Not any more: starting Monday, the Ecuadorian government has added a computer strip (or whatever it is called) to the document and issuing a  protected "password identification" to you so that it seems almost impossible to fake your immigration status. I believe there are 15 other "points of identification" on the cedulla (birthdate, name. etc) to tighten things up even more.

My thought is: why can't we do this in the United States? Call Bill Gates and have him set us up with a similar system! As an American, I don't feel offended if the Ecuadorian government wants to know where I am or what I am doing; after all, I am a guest in their house.Likewise, why should legitimate foreigners in America care or be unwilling to go through this process in order to gain the advantages and benefits of living in a place they desire?

Am I missing something here?

All comments welcome!


  1. Hi Tony,
    Why do you think US’s “Green Card” is less difficult to obtain or falsify than Ecuadorian one? Per my information, if compare technical aspects, there is no way to make fake US’s green card that can be used in any government office. Even to make visually identical copy is a big technical challenge (the best color printer is useless).

  2. Go to for a list of codes to type Spanish characters on a regular keyboard. Look about half way down the left hand column on the opening page. Keyboards with a 10 key number pad will work OK - Those without a 10 key are a little more difficult. Also Google "type spanish characters" for more help.

  3. You are missing the knowledge of the US immigration system. I am a university researcher and just obtained my green card (legally) in March of 2010. First, it is extremely difficult to counterfeit the green card. There are some features like I have never seen anywhere else, like the metal strip with etched presidents portraits, each probably no bigger than 1/8 of an inch; or the microimages of the state flags. It also bears imprinted finger print and some data in the bar code. All the information is duplicated in the computers, so it's easy to see if the data on the card match the database.

    Without the card the employment opportunities are very limited. There are not many businesses that will risk the prosecution for hiring illegal workers. Definitely no respected company would do that.

    The difference of the American system is the rule of due process. Anyone who is accused of being an illegal immigrant is given a chance to defend themselves. And this is a correct thing to do, because there have been multiple cases of american citizens being treated as illegal immigrants, mostly Latinos with mental illnesses. Due process can take a long time, and this is why it seems that the law is not enforced. It is enforced as much as the court loads allow. Finally, Obama administration has stepped up deportations a lot. No other administration has deported illegal aliens at such high rates. I know it caused a major disappointment with Latino voters.


  4. I am a university researcher and just obtained my green card (legally) in March of 2010. First, it is extremely difficult to counterfeit the green card