Imagility News

US Officials Collaborate with Panamanian Immigration Authorities

Washington, Nov 20 (EFE). – A contingent of United States officials is set to journey to Panama to collaborate with the Central American nation’s authorities in handling migrant applications, as confirmed by sources within the US government.

Specifically, the Joe Biden administration plans to initiate a six-month pilot program aimed at supporting Panama in reviewing the applications of migrants entering the country and deporting those who fail to meet the necessary criteria to stay.

The deportees will include individuals who “do not need international protection or other legal requirements” to remain in Panama, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson speaking to EFE.

Comprising personnel from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State, the team of US officials will not only assist in application processing but also aid the Panamanian government in securing funding to bolster its deportation operations, as reported by various media outlets.

While the start date of the visit remains unspecified, reports suggest that the formal agreement between Washington and Panama, a key transit country on the migratory route to the United States, is still pending.

This initiative forms part of the Joe Biden administration’s broader efforts to address the escalating numbers at the southern border with Mexico, which has witnessed record-breaking apprehensions by the Border Patrol, exceeding two million this year alone.

In a related move, the US recently extended a license permitting the Venezuelan airline Conviasa to operate repatriation flights from regional countries to Caracas as part of sanctions against Venezuela.

The gravity of the migration crisis in the region is underscored by the fact that over 400,000 people have entered Panama through the Darién jungle this year, serving as a natural border with Colombia. Movement restrictions imposed by governments in the Americas, and influenced by the United States, have led to thousands taking more perilous routes, including the Darien crossing, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

Most individuals crossing from Colombia to Panama originate from Venezuela, which faces the largest humanitarian crisis on the continent. Over seven million people have left Venezuela in recent years, prompting more than 20 countries, including the US, Mexico, and Panama, to impose visa requirements on Venezuelans, contributing to a rise in irregular land crossings into US territory.

The Biden administration has also taken targeted measures to restrict Venezuelan migration across the border, including the recent resumption of deportation flights to Caracas.

Source: Laprensalatina