MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, July 17th 2024 - 19:30 UTC

 

 

Barbed Wire in the Darien Jungle and Mass Repatriation: How the U.S. and Panama curb migration

Wednesday, July 10th 2024 - 20:24 UTC
Full article 0 comments
In an effort to manage the migratory flow, Panama has recently installed barbed wire barriers along the Darien Gap In an effort to manage the migratory flow, Panama has recently installed barbed wire barriers along the Darien Gap

The United States and Panama have signed an agreement aimed at curbing the flow of migrants through the perilous Darien jungle. This agreement, part of broader efforts by President Joe Biden's administration, comes as a response to the surge in migration at the southern border, a key issue in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential elections in November.

On July 1, Panamanian Foreign Minister Javier Martinez-Acha and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas formalized the agreement, which launches a new foreign assistance program funded by the U.S. State Department. This initiative aligns with the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, signed in June 2022, which aims to “humanely manage borders throughout the Americas.”

A New Approach to Migration Management

The agreement includes U.S. support for repatriation operations from Panama, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) providing training and capacity building to ensure “safe and humane” repatriation processes. Secretary Mayorkas emphasized the need for a regional response to the migration challenge, stating, “Irregular migration is a regional challenge that requires a regional response. We are grateful for our partnership with Panama to manage historic levels of migration throughout the Western Hemisphere.”

Panama's newly elected president, José Raúl Mulino, has also underscored the urgency of addressing the migration issue. His office reported that the agreement would help close the passage of illegal immigrants through the Darien, describing the situation as a “serious humanitarian crisis.” Since January, more than 195,000 migrants have traversed the jungle, facing numerous dangers, including kidnapping, robbery, animal attacks, accidents, disease, and even death.

Controversial Measures and Challenges

In an effort to manage the migratory flow, Panama has recently installed barbed wire barriers along the Darien Gap. The Panamanian Public Security Ministry announced that border patrols have been blocking most crossings since June 27, requiring migrants to present identification at designated crossings. This move aims to control migration and reduce the influence of organized crime in the area.

However, the United States has distanced itself from the barbed wire barriers. A spokesman for the White House National Security Council told NBC News, “The United States has not provided support to the Government of Panama to erect barriers on its borders,” despite the agreement to manage migration flows from countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, Haiti, Colombia, and China.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

No comments for this story

Please log in or register (it’s free!) to comment.