The Panamanian government warned that there are thousands of Haitian migrants waiting to illegally enter the United States.
According to Erika Mouynes, Panamanian foreign minister, since the beginning of 2021 more than 85,000 Haitians crossed their country and believe that “they are all heading to the United States.”
“We’ve engaged with every single authority that we can think of, that we can come across, to say, ‘Please, let’s pay attention to this,'” Mouynes told Axios, assuring that she has warned of the situation for months.
Mouynes told the U.S. media outlet that she hopes to meet with the United States and other countries to come up with plans to better control the volume of people crossing their borders. She said Haiti should also be involved to get to the root of the problem.
In addition to the 85,000 people who have already crossed into Panama, Mouynes said another 30,000 are waiting in Colombia.
“When we receive them on the Panamanian side, they’re malnourished. The children are in terrible condition, so even getting them up to a healthy state takes time,” she said.
Haitians fleeing the crisis in their country pass through Colombia and travel through the dangerous Darien jungles to Panama before heading north through Central America and Mexico to reach the United States.
“This is all happening because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris refuse to enforce the law,” said Republican Senator Ted Cruz regarding the Panamanian foreign minister’s statements.
“They essentially said anyone who wants to come to America, they’re going to resettle them, they’re going to give them benefits, they’re going to let them stay, and it’s resulting in a public health crisis and a humanitarian crisis,” he explained.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed earlier this week that 13,000 Haitian immigrants have their cases analyzed by immigration judges and 10,000 of them have already been released in the United States.
Most Haitian migrants come from Chile or Brazil
According to Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, most of the thousands of Haitian migrants heading to the United States come from Chile and Brazil.
In testimonies to Reuters, many of them assure that they decided to migrate to the United States because they were never able to regularize their situation in those countries.
Added to this is the belief that under the Biden administration, immigration policy would be less harsh. Upon his arrival at the White House, Biden promised to be more “humane” towards migrants and asylum seekers, which served as an incentive for the crisis we are seeing at the southern border of the USA.
According to the Mexican Foreign Minister, the current flow of Haitians “is due to the fact that the United States (…) extended until 2023 the TPS program” which provides temporary protection status to those already in the country.
However, in the face of the crisis, the Biden administration called on migrants not to travel to the United States and maintains the activation of Title 42, an exception in the country’s health law, which allows restricting the entry of foreigners by land for health reasons.
Although Title 42 became an instrument to deport thousands of Haitians who arrived in the United States, another 600,000 migrants have been released since Biden took office.