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US, Panama agree to close crossing and send back migrants – DW – 07/02/2024

US, Panama agree to close crossing and send back migrants – DW – 07/02/2024

Governments Panama And America A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed this Monday (07/01/2024) in which the US administration “commits to cover the cost of repatriating” migrants through the Darien natural border with Colombia, which hundreds of people use daily. According to officials, it is on its way to North America.

“In an agreement signed today by the Foreign Minister of Panama, Javier Martínez-Acha, and the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States, Alejandro Mayorkas, the US government covers the cost of repatriating migrants who enter illegally through the Darien,” the office of the new Panamanian president, Jose Raul Mulino, who took office this Monday, announced in a statement.

The MoU on “assistance and cooperation” in immigration matters “will make it possible to close the passage of illegal immigrants through Darien, which has become a serious humanitarian crisis.”

The text of the agreement, according to the note, “seeks to support Panama with equipment, transport and logistics of foreigners found in migrant flows in violation of Panama’s immigration laws”, “subject to administrative immigration” measures to comply with Panamanian law”.

An end to human trafficking

Panama, for its part, pledged in the memorandum of understanding to “comply with all international treaties and conventions on the rights of migrants and persons in refugee status.”

“Panama’s President, José Raul Mulino, is committed to resolving the Darien crisis and ending the illegal business of human trafficking,” the report concludes.

Shortly before the announcement was made public, Mulino had said during his inauguration speech that “Panama will no longer be a transit country for illegals.”

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“I will not allow local complicity. I ask our security forces to apply the law accordingly, with strict respect for human rights and the protection of our country’s interests,” the Panamanian president said.

I will not allow Panama to become a conduit for thousands of people illegally entering our country with the support of the entire international system of drug trafficking and human trafficking. That money, money that profits from human misfortune, is cursed money. said Mulino.

High economic cost to Panama

“Panama cannot continue to finance the social cost of massive illegal immigration in the country, which in the past has been 100 million dollars a year in the past, and the social cost of the massive illegal immigration in the country linked to international criminal organizations that create international insecurity. Force the “Panama Security Agents” to ignore our territorial and maritime security in the rest of the country.

For his part, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson said in a statement that “President Joe Biden’s government will support Panama’s efforts to quickly, safely and humanely return illegal immigrants to Panama.”

We will help to “stop the enrichment” of human trafficking networks through repatriation, prevent irregular migration in the region and at the US-Mexico border.

So far this year, more than 195,000 migrants have crossed the jungle, mostly Venezuelans, with more than 520,000 in 2023, an unprecedented number, according to official data.

jc (afp, efe, Panama America, La Estrella de Panamá)