Q24N (EFE) The arrival of migrants in Panama through the dangerous Darién jungle, the natural border with Colombia, “has decreased considerably” after the implementation of the new United States immigration policy for Venezuelans.
This was stated Tuesday by the head of Panama’s National Border Service (Senafront), Oriel Ortega, who explained that after having registered peaks of “3,000 and 4,000” migrants in a single day in October, they are now arriving “between 1,000 and less”.
Panama is the gateway to Central America from the south of the continent for migrants headed to North America, and until last Saturday a record number of 204,986 people had entered the Darién, 71.8% of them Venezuelans, according to figures officers provided to EFE last Sunday.
Only between October 1 and 22, 53,404 migrants (39,834 Venezuelans) were counted, an unprecedented number, while there were 48,204 in September, 31,104 in August, 22,822 in July, 15,633 in June and 13,894 in May of this year.
The drop in the number of daily arrivals to the Panamanian province of Darién occurs after the United States Government announced and implemented the rule on October 12 that indicates that every Venezuelan who enters the U.S., having crossed an irregular border between Mexico and Panama, will be expelled to Mexican territory.
In addition, those expelled will be excluded from the program through which the United States will give legal status for two years to 24,000 Venezuelans who arrive by plane and with sponsors.
The effect of the US measure is that many Venezuelans who were in irregular transit “are being returned”, so “this weekend we had this migratory movement from Chiriquí”, the border province (north) with Costa Rica, to the city from Panama.
In the Panamanian capital, a temporary shelter set up by the Venezuelan diplomatic mission is hosting a growing number of irregular Venezuelan migrants who want to voluntarily return to their country.
The Panamanian Government has activated a humanitarian aid device in the place, a shed that lacks ventilation and where there are many children.
According to Ortega said, Panama is supporting the transfer of migrants by bus to the country’s main airport, Tocumen, so that they can take flights home, to which the travelers themselves are paying for at a cost of US$280.
EFE reports that several hundred migrants have already left on numerous flights, while many others are asking for help to raise the money they need to buy the ticket.