Tuesday, July 16, 2024

US to provide financial support to Panama for repatriating migrants attempting to reach the border

US to Cover Costs of Repatriating Illegal Migrants Caught in Darien Gap

The United States has signed a new deal with Panama to cover the costs of repatriating illegal migrants caught using the treacherous Darien Gap, a major passageway used by those trying to reach the US border. This agreement comes after Panama’s new President, José Raúl Mulino, vowed to shut down migration through the dangerous stretch of jungle that has already been traversed by more than 500,000 migrants in the last year.

Under the deal, the US will provide equipment, transportation, and logistics to help send the illegal migrants back to their native countries. US Homeland Security teams on the ground in Panama will also assist in training personnel and building up expertise to determine which migrants could be deported under Panama’s immigration laws.

While the exact amount of money the US will contribute towards the flights was not specified, the US will pay for charter flights or commercial airplane tickets for the migrants to return home. The program will be entirely under Panama’s control, and the US will not have a say in who is deported.

The agreement aims to reduce the number of migrants being smuggled through the Darien Gap and deter irregular migration in the region and at the US southern border. This effort is crucial in halting the enrichment of smuggling networks that prey on vulnerable migrants.

The deal was signed after Panama’s President Mulino reiterated his commitment to stopping illegal migration through the jungle-clad and lawless border. With more than half a million migrants using the treacherous corridor last year and over 190,000 crossing so far in 2024, the Darien Gap has become a superhighway for those trying to reach the US, primarily from Venezuela.

The agreement also follows allegations that a Venezuelan gang has been smuggling guns into New York City-run migrant shelters, adding another layer of complexity to the ongoing asylum seeker crisis. The security concerns raised by this incident have prompted calls from local lawmakers for heightened security at migrant shelters to prevent the spillover of lawlessness into local neighborhoods.

This latest development underscores the challenges faced by both the US and Panama in managing illegal migration and highlights the collaborative efforts being made to address this pressing issue.

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