biden to deploy immigration officers to panama amid migrant crisis
The Joe Biden administration in the United States is planning to deploy a team of immigration officials to Panama, a country in Central America, amid the migrant crisis.
The team of U.S. immigration officials will help local authorities screen and deport migrants traveling through Panama, which is a key transit point for migrants hoping to reach the US southern border.
Once a final agreement is reached between the United States and Panama, the U.S. immigration officials will screen asylum-seekers and deport migrants.
According to CBS news, the U.S. authorities aim to assist Panamanian authorities as they grapple with an extraordinary flow of migrants into the Darién Gap, a geographic region in the Isthmus of Panama connecting the American continents within Central America.
Nearly 500,000 migrants have crossed Darién Gap
Nearly 500,000 migrants, including women and children, have crossed Darién Gap, a dangerous jungle at the Colombia-Panama border, on foot this year. The vast majority of migrants have come from Venezuela, a country on the northern coast of South America.
Thousands of people have left Venezuela in recent years to escape an economic crisis and authoritarian rule. While crossing the Darién Gap, migrants have faced abuse, torture, and violence. The restrictions on migrants movement from South American countries to Mexico and Central America have forced migrants to cross the once-impenetrable Darién jungle.
On the Colombian side of the Darién Gap, armed group torture migrants. They collect around US$125 per person crossing the Darién Gap. On the Panamanian side of the Darién Gap, migrants, including women and children, are routinely robbed, sexually abused, and at times raped.
U.S. officials to train Panamanian officials
The U.S. officials are set to train Panamanian officials to screen migrants and asylum-seekers for humanitarian protection and deport people who don’t qualify to stay in the country.
The U.S. officials will also help Panama to secure government contracts to improve its deportation operations amid the migrant crisis.
In recent months, the US has taken various measures to address the migrant crisis. The US has also opened a migrant center in Ecuador in order to help migrants apply for legal U.S. entry and employment permits. The officials will also open a new family reunification process for Ecuadorian nationals with relatives in the United States. Migrant center will help Haitian, Nicaraguan, Venezuelan and Colombian asylum seekers and migrants in Ecuador.
Last month, Joe Biden offered legal status to migrant families separated under the Donald Trump administration. As part of the settlement, separated migrant families would receive health services and medical assistance.