Saturday 9 December 2023

Transfer of migrants on buses in Costa Rica and Panama worries the United States

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QCOSTARICA — The use of buses to transport migrants through Costa Rica and Panama and to the northern border with Nicaragua worries United States authorities, as Joe Biden’s government officials confirmed to “The New York Times”.

Migrants, mostly Venezuelans, waiting to board the bus to take them to the border with Nicaragua last month in Paso Canoas, Costa Rica.

The report titled: “A New Answer for Migrants in Central America: Bus Them North” talks about officials from Joe Biden’s government, who were not authorized to speak on the record, fear it will encourage more people to travel to the U.S. border and say they have brought up their concerns behind closed doors with the governments of both Costa Rica and Panama.

Costa Rica and Panama officials maintain that the bus system makes the trip less dangerous and allows migrants to avoid organized crime groups that traffic migrants.

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In this sense, Costa Rica’ President Rodrigo Chaves declared a national emergency on September 23 with which he wants to have more economic resources to strengthen the capacities of the institutions in charge of addressing the situation.

The New York Times highlights that these are two more fees that are added to the many more that migrants must pay on their way to the United States.

“The strategy has raised alarms in the United States, which has called on its Latin American allies to deter people from making the treacherous journey north by encouraging them to apply for refugee status closer to their home countries.

“Instead, the shuttles seem to be forming a fast lane for them to race north,” write Zolan Kanno-Youngs and David Bolaños, reporting from Paso Canoas and San José, Costa Rica.

In Panama, each migrant must pay US$60 to get to the Paso Canoas border with Costa Rica by bus and US$30 more to be transported to the Peñas Blancas border with Nicaragua.

Before the busing program in Costa Rica, migrants easily crossed the southern border into Costa Rica, as they looked for temporary work which could help them with the journey to San Jose, a further station, before continuing to the northern border.

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