US And Panama Combining To Block Darien Gap To Migrants Moving North.

Photo: Public domain. Pathways through the jungle like this are extremely dangerous for would-be migrants who face dangerous animals, insects, flooding rivers, and other hazards as they strive to cross from South America to North America on foot.
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The United States and Panama are working together to address irregular migration through the Darien Gap, under a new agreement between the two countries that was  announced on Monday.

The U.S. State Department said the collaboration would include U.S. helping Panama with removal flights to repatriate people who illegally enter Panama.

A U.S. State Department statement said the program is aimed at addressing “unprecedented migration through the Darien region.” The jungle area connects Colombia to Panama and has been a dangerous route for migrants trying to reach the United States.

“By returning such individuals to their country of origin, we will help deter irregular migration in the region and at our Southern border, and halt the enrichment of malign smuggling networks that prey on vulnerable migrants,” U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

The U.S. said more than 520,000 migrants passed through the Darien region last year.

Panama’s President José Raúl Mulino, who took office Monday, pledged that migrants without legal status in Panama will not be permitted to pass through the country.

“I won’t allow Panama to be an open path for thousands of people who enter our country illegally, supported by an international organization related to drug trafficking and human trafficking,” Mulino said during his inauguration speech.

Addressing root causes of migration and working with countries along routes used to reach the United States have been part of U.S. efforts in the region to reduce the number of people who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Irregular migration is a regional challenge that requires a regional response,” U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

Source: VOA
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