Estefania Isaias was banned from entering the US after getting illegal visas for her maids—a ban that was lifted right around the time the Isaias family donated tens of thousands of dollars to President Obama's campaign, the New York Times reports. The family has given vast sums to several US politicians, including New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, who fought to overturn the ban. Meanwhile, the US has rejected calls to extradite Estefania's father and uncle, Roberto and William Isaias, who have been sentenced to prison in Ecuador in what the country calls a $400 million case involving fraud by their bank.
Menendez pushed hard with the State Department on behalf of Estefania after the travel ban was enforced. He announced the ban's reversal a day after her mother donated $40,000 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2012. The family also gave Menendez's 2012 campaign more than $11,000, NBC New York reports. Menendez's office says the senator "handled this case no differently than we have thousands of other immigration-related requests over the years," and that he often works on out-of-state cases. But the Ecuadorian ambassador calls the move on behalf of a foreign national "quite unusual." As for the brothers, the criminal case against them was questionable, the Times notes, and the US says extradition requests haven't fulfilled legal requirements. Click for the Times' full piece. (Read more Ecuador stories.)