Panama’s foreign minister warns that as many as 60,000 Haitian migrants are likely headed to the U.S. after passing through her country. The new wave of Haitians follows the release by the Biden Administration of thousands from the Del Rio brdige camp crisis earlier this month.
Panama Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes told Axios as many as 60,000 Haitian migrants are poised to make their way to the U.S.-Mexico Border. The Panamanian government expects another 27,000 Haitians to make the trek through the Darien Gap this month — more than the total for all of 2019.
The Panamanian foreign minister is asking for help from the Biden Administration to coordinate with all of the nations in the region. She wrapped up meetings earlier this week in Washington with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and congressional leaders.
“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 stated. She expressed frustration with the Biden Administration being “caught off guard” by the Haitian migrant crisis. She said she has been sounding the alarm for months.
“We all have a role to play in this issue, and the regional approach is the correct approach,” the foreign minister explained. “It is impossible for Panama to solve it on its own.”
Mouynes reported that more than 85,000 Haitians crossed to Colombian border into Panama so far this year. “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.
Mouynes added that Colombia is currently holding back approximately 30,000 migrants seeking to cross into Panama.