Panama is escalating efforts to prevent illegal South American migrants from crossing the Darien Gap and heading north through the country on their way to the United States. But these efforts are being hampered by Colombia’s refusal to cooperate.
This decision comes as official data from the Panamanian government shows that more than 350,000 people have already crossed the Darien Gap in an effort to make the long trek north to the U.S.-Mexico Border in 2023. By comparison, less than 250,000 migrants crossed the gap in all of 2022. The United Nations and the Panamanian government expect the total number of migrants crossing the gap to reach an unprecedented 400,000 by year’s end. (Related: This needs to STOP! Tax dollars are being used to fund ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION across America.)
Just in August, an estimated 82,000 migrants traveled up Highway One of the Pan-American Highway through the country north to Costa Rica. The number of migrants trekking through the gap is now estimated at between 2,500 to 3,000 per day.
The Darien Gap is an inhospitable region in southern Panama mostly made up of thick jungle. It connects the country to Colombia in South America, and the area has a reputation for causing injury and death. Not only do migrants and so-called asylum seekers face threats from the jungle – the terrain used to be so perilous to be considered nearly impassable – but the Darien Gap is also mostly under the control of criminal networks and armed rebel groups.
On Friday, Sept. 8, Panamanian authorities announced new measures to curb rising migrant crossings through the Darien Gap. The National Migration Service of Panama claims they will increase deportations of migrants and so-called asylum seekers with criminal records and slash the number of days certain tourists are allowed to stay in the country from 90 to 15 days.
With the help of the country’s public security ministry, Panama Immigration Director Samira Gozaine noted that deportation flights for migrants with criminal records will be doubled.
Tourists who expect to stay up to 90 days in the country are also expected to show proof that they have at least $1,000 in personal funds, double the previous $500 financial threshold for tourists.
Colombia’s refusal to cooperate prevents Panama from dealing with migrant tide
This is part of the country’s ongoing “Darien Is A Jungle, Not A Road” anti-migrant campaign – a campaign that has been hampered by the refusal of Colombia to cooperate by helping prevent migrants from moving through the two countries’ roadless border.
Ann Vandersteel and Michael Yon, reporting from Panama for the Brighteon.TV program “Right Now With Ann Vandersteel,” pointed out that the Colombian government is incentivized to allow the crossings into Panama for a fee.
Yon noted that the Colombian government has been accused of making millions of dollars arranging trips for migrants to cross the Darien Gap. Furthermore, once the Colombian government has been able to dump their migrants into the Panamanian side of the region, locals in the area can make a small fortune from helping transport migrants north.
“[It’s] obviously true. I’ve been down to Colombia and seen these things … there’s huge money to be made,” said Yon. “The bus drivers [in Panama], they come up this road on Highway One from the Darien Gap up to Costa Rica. They make $250 per trip, and there’s two drivers per bus, so that’s $500 between the two of them. That’s a lot of money for Panamanians.”
“Despite all the efforts, meetings with other countries involved have not managed to stop [the flow of migrants],” said Panama Minister of Public Security Juan Manuel Pino in a news conference.
“Don’t tell me the border can’t be closed,” said Gozaine in the same conference. “It is possible, though it would take action.” Gozaine has further accused Colombia of refusing to share information or participate in planned joint actions that could stem the tide of migrants making the dangerous trek through the Darien Gap.
“Instead of getting better, it has gotten worse, in spite of the negotiations with Colombia,” said Gozaine. “There has been no agreement, no information sharing, nor any effort that might help Panama manage the unregulated flow, which has grown considerably in recent days.”
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to reach any agreement with Colombia, which continues to indiscriminately send us not only people from other countries, but Colombians as well,” she added.
Learn more about the migrant crisis in the United States at Migrants.news.
Watch this Sept. 15 episode of “Right Now with Ann Vandersteel,” featuring Michael Yon, Matthew Tomlet and Jason Cook.
“Right Now with Ann Vandersteel” airs Monday to Saturday at 8 p.m. on Brighteon.TV.
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