The Panamanian Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino, stated in a statement that so far this year “187,644 migrants have passed through Panama” in transit to North America

More than 187,000 migrants heading to the United States have arrived in Panama this year after crossing the dangerous jungle border with Colombia, most of them Venezuelans, the authorities of the Central American country reported, calling for “regional alternatives” to manage this phenomenon.

The Panamanian Minister of Public Security, Juan Pino, stated in a statement that so far this year “187,644 migrants have passed through Panama” in transit to North America.

Only “so far in October, 36,062 have passed, mostly from Venezuela,” added Pino, as part of a tour this weekend through the Darién jungle, the dangerous 266-kilometer journey that these travelers make. to enter Central America from the south.

More than 9,000 migrants are in the migratory reception camps that the Panamanian State has in the province of Darién, said the director of the National Migration Service (SNM), Samira Gozaine.

Panama receives irregular travelers at migratory reception stations (ERM) located on the border with Colombia and Costa Rica, where they take their biometric data and receive food and medical care, in a unique operation on the continent that consumes millions of dollars per year.

They are entire families, with children and even babies, on the move. Many of the Venezuelans and Haitians come from second or third countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile or Brazil, where they had already tried to settle.


But there are already testimonies that Venezuelan citizens began to return to South America after the recent announcement by the United States Government that they will be expelled from that territory for having traveled irregularly.

“They went back, we were in the jungle when the people were already beginning (to go back), quite a few, too many. Just from Necoclí (Colombia) quite a few were returned, there were 500 tickets (and) there were only 20 left, ”an unidentified migrant told Minister Pino, according to a video posted on the social networks of this ministry.

As part of the security tour through Darién, Pino traveled to the Cañas Blancas area on Saturday, located about two kilometers from the border with Colombia, an official statement said.

“Many migrants have decided to return from Colombia and some from the border sector of Panama because of the message from the United States,” said the minister.

The United States announced on Wednesday a program that gives legal status for two years to Venezuelans who arrive by plane and have a sponsor.

Initially, 24,000 Venezuelans will be accepted under this program, which excludes those deported from the US in the last five years, those who have entered Panama or Mexico irregularly, or those who have a permanent residence or Venezuelan nationality. another country other than Venezuela.

Other migrants who spoke with the Panamanian authorities reaffirmed their willingness to continue the journey to North America: “I prefer to stay ahead than go back,” said one of them.

Pino said that Panama promotes the search for “regional alternatives to address this (migratory) phenomenon that we are facing in the Western Hemisphere.”

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