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Panama to Curb Migration Through the Darien Gap

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Red Cross Panama

President-elect Jose Raul Mulino of Panama is taking on the migrant crisis as one of his first pieces of legislation. “Panama and our Darien [Gap] are not a transit route. It is our border,” Mulino said, referring to the notorious Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia that has become a favored travel route for migrants en route to America. The number of crossings multiplies each year, with an estimated 500,000 people passing through last year alone.

Mulino is reversing the policies of the previous government who aided migrants in their voyage to America. His new plan involves illegally deporting anyone found in Panama. “Because when we start to deport people here in an immediate deportation plan, the interest for sneaking through Panama will decrease,” Mulino said of the plan, according to Voice of America. “I assure you they are going to say that going through Panama is not attractive because they are deporting you.”

Some question whether Panama has the ability to conduct mass deportations. You have the Biden Administration openly flying migrants into America. Panama and other Southern American nations are paying the price for America’s open border policy. In all actuality, we cannot expect a foreign nation to secure our borders when leadership is openly inviting foreigners to come to America.

Panama has its own issues to focus on. The International Monetary Fund believes GDP will drastically slow from 7.3% in 2023 to 2.5% in 2024. Fitch downgraded Panama’s credit rating, stamping the nation with a junk status for “fiscal and governance challenges.” The Panama Canal’s capacity has been reduced due to droughts, and some regions are facing water shortages. The next president of the United Stated will see Panama’s efforts to curb migration as an olive branch or an obstacle, and any trade or aid will depend on November’s outcome.