Samira Gozaine, the director of Panama’s National Migration Institute, held a press conference with Security Minister Juan Manuel Pino on Friday, explaining plans to increase border control and surveillance on land and in the air.They stated that Panama will increase deportations of irregular migrants as the migration flow increases, and the measures will be applicable at airports and used at the border officers’ discretion. Thus far, over 450 foreigners have been deported already. Panama is also looking into reducing the time foreigners with criminal records are allowed to stay in the country from 90 to 15 days. Additionally, it is implementing more frequent checkpoints to target and stop criminal gang activity in the jungle. According to the UN, over 350,000 migrants have crossed the Darién Gap (a jungle that links Panama to Colombia). This is an increase of 100,000 since 2022.Panama has built reception centres to process migrants at the border, but the number of people is exceeding the limit, and resources are being stretched. It has also been accused of taking a hostile approach to the migrant crisis. The UN calls on states to promote human rights-based solutions rather than anti-migrant narratives and reinforce protection. Economic insecurity, political tension, violence and climate change are all factors that force migrants from Venezuela, Ecuador and Haiti who are attempting to make it to the US-Mexico border through South America.

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