US to Assist Panama in Deporting Migrants Via Darién Gap

According to an agreement inked on Monday, U.S. and Panamanian officials will be able to help each other deport migrants who pass the Darién Gap. Once an insurmountable barrier, this jungle is now a popular stop for those making their way to the southern United States border.

Working together, U.S. and Panamanian immigration agents will provide training and assistance to the Panamanian government so that they can better deport migrants heading north. Over half a million people crossed into Panama from the Darién rainforest in 2023, continuing a trend of rising numbers in recent years.

The Department of Homeland Security intends to dispatch seasoned officials to Panama to help their Panamanian colleagues with asylum claim screening and deportation. The United States will use money from the State Department to help Panama improve its deportation infrastructure.

According to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who attended Monday’s inauguration of José Raúl Mulino, the incoming president of Panama, the accord is a component of a wider regional strategy on migration.

With an emphasis on the Darién Gap, Mulino has pledged to do all he can to help Panama deal with the influx of migrants. He also addressed concerns over the possible facilitation of illegal migration by foreign charity workers.

This is the administration’s latest move to combat illegal immigration along the southern U.S. border. The number of people crossing the border illegally dropped to its lowest point during President Biden’s term last month after his decision to temporarily suspend asylum proceedings through executive action.

Additionally, the deal emphasizes how the United States has grown more reliant on other countries, irrespective of political party, to handle the problem of migrant crossings along its southern border.

Mexican authorities have made it a priority in recent months to stop migrants from entering the country’s northern states. And Chinese migrants using Ecuador as a stepping stone to the U.S. border are now subject to visa restrictions, according to recent news reports.