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Panama warns that more than 65,000 migrants may be on their way to the U.S.

, Panama warns that more than 65,000 migrants may be on their way to the U.S.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Panama’s Foreign Minister, Erika Mouynes, warned on Tuesday about a possible increase in irregular migration to the United States. She estimated that more than 65,000 people might be heading there after having crossed her country.

In an interview with Efe at the end of a visit that began on Monday and concluded on Tuesday to Washington, Mouynes considered that what has been seen so far “is the beginning of something.”

Read also: Check out our coverage on Panama

“We have sounded the alarm for months about this and what we can say now is that by the numbers we see (immigration) is going to increase,” said the head of Panamanian diplomacy, who exposed in her meetings with U.S. authorities the concern of her country about this situation.

, Panama warns that more than 65,000 migrants may be on their way to the U.S.
“The decision not to act or not to face it, not to confront it, is not the right one, it cannot be an option; we have to get involved now,” said Minister Erika Mouynes (Photo internet reproduction)

“What happens,” she added, “is that since (people) go on foot, it is a slow migration, but it will arrive.”

Mouynes made his statement shortly after a new crisis broke out on the U.S.-Mexico border due to the massive arrival in recent weeks of immigrants, mostly Haitians, who assembled in a makeshift camp under a bridge that connects the town of Del Rio (Texas) with Ciudad Acuna, on Mexican soil.

“It cannot be that 10,000 migrants arrive in Del Rio out of nowhere,” she said, to illustrate how “no one” is prepared to receive a massive migration.

According to the Chancellor, if more than 86,000 migrants have crossed through her country since last January and there are some 20,000 at the U.S.-Mexico border through Texas, “it means that there are 65,000 more on their way” to U.S. territory.

Meanwhile, she recalled that between 20,000 and 30,000 more people are waiting to continue their route on the border with Colombia.

In the Colombian town of Necoclí alone, around 17,500 people are currently waiting for one of the 500 daily quotas established by the Colombian and Panamanian authorities to take one of the boats that will take them to Acandí, the last stop before entering the Darién jungle on their way to Panamanian soil.

“The decision not to act or not to face it, not to confront it, is not the right one, it cannot be an option; we have to get involved now,” she said.

In this context, the Panamanian Foreign Minister called for finding a “shared solution” to the migratory flows involving the entire region, especially the United States.

“The shared solution is for this migratory wave that involves migrants of African and Caribbean nationality, there are Cubans, there are Haitians, there are from other places”, said the official, for whom it is vital to adopt “standardized protocols” to meet the needs of these people.

She pointed out that at Panama’s request, a meeting was held last August, which brought together nine other countries that are part of the irregular migratory route from South to North America. A series of measures were agreed upon be implemented.

In addition, she emphasized that his country has assumed the attention to migrants with responsibility since it has prioritized the medical attention to these people, the shelter for unaccompanied minors, and the covid-19 detection tests.

Mouynes referred, on the other hand, to Haiti and called on the countries of the region to get directly involved to understand the situation in the Caribbean nation.

“Haiti is part of our region,” said the Foreign Minister, who called for coordination of the international community to assume what is happening in that country as a “problem of all” and help it to face “the humanitarian and political crisis they are experiencing”.

Consulted on the agenda between Panama and the U.S., which has not had an ambassador in that country since 2018, Mouynes considered having conveyed during her visit the need to have “as soon as possible” this figure as a natural interlocutor for the relationship with her country, which she assured is recognized by Washington as a key partner in the region.

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