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Venezuelans have been deported from Panama and Colombia due to US immigration actions

Venezuelans have been deported from Panama and Colombia due to US immigration actions
I have refugees, Venezuela
Migrants walk through a mountain with the aim of reaching Panama through the Darien Gap (Colombia) on October 8, 2022. “They say Venezuela is fixing itself, but look how it is,” says Jose Muñoz, pointing to hundreds of his compatriots ready to embark on the journey to the United States through the dangerous Darien on the Colombian-Panama border. In the forest. They kill time by lying on the beach and relaxing as boat after boat departs from the Caribbean town of Necogli and heads into the montane forest on the other side of the Gulf of Urepa, along a soulless path. Photo: EFE/ Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

More than 187,000 migrants have arrived in Panama this year across the dangerous jungle border with Colombia, most of them from Venezuela, officials in the Central American country have said, calling for “regional alternatives” to manage the phenomenon. .

Minister of Panama Public safetyJuan Pino said in a statement that “187,644 migrants have passed through Panama to North America” ​​so far this year.

“So far in October, 36,062 people have crossed, mostly from Venezuela,” Pino said, adding that the travelers will make the 266-kilometer journey this weekend as part of a tour through the Darien forest.

More than 9,000 migrants are in migrant reception camps in Panama’s Darien province, said Samira Gozain, director of the National Migration Service (SNM).

Panama receives irregular travelers at migrant reception centers (ERM) located on the border with Colombia and Costa Rica, where they take biometric data and receive food and medical care, a unique operation that costs the continent millions of dollars a year.

They move with entire families, even babies and children. Many Venezuelans and Haitians come from second or third countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile or Brazil, where they have already tried to settle.

Venezuelans before US immigration policy

But there is already evidence of Venezuelan citizens returning to South America after the US government’s recent announcement that they would be expelled from the region for irregular travel.

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“They went back and we were in the jungle when people were already starting (to go back), some, many. Some came back from Necogli (Colombia), there were 500 tickets (and) only 20 left,” an unidentified immigrant told Minister Pino. In a video posted on the Ministry’s social networks.

As part of a security tour through Darien, Pino traveled to Canas Blancas, two kilometers from the border with Colombia, on Saturday, an official statement said.

“Many migrants have decided to return from Colombia and some from the border region of Panama because of the message from the United States,” the minister said.

The United States on Wednesday announced a plan to grant legal status for two years to Venezuelans who arrive by plane and have a sponsor.

Initially, 24,000 Venezuelans will be accepted under the program, which excludes those who have been deported from the United States in the past five years, entered Panama or Mexico irregularly, or have permanent residency or citizenship in another country. Venezuela.

Other migrants who spoke to Panamanian officials reaffirmed their desire to continue the journey to North America: “I’d rather stay ahead than go back,” one of them said.

Pino said Panama promotes “regional alternatives to deal with this (migratory) phenomenon that we face in the Western Hemisphere.”

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