Biden’s Border Chief Shuts His Deadly Trail in the Panama Jungle

Darien Gap
John Moore/Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s border chief is shutting down the deadly Darien Gap jungle trail in Panama he built for migrants in 2021 — just as a huge wave of northbound migrants is now overwhelming his border management plans.

The shutdown news was delivered on April 11 in a Trilateral Joint Statement issued by Panama, Columbia, and border chief Alejandro Mayorkas:

 the three governments will seek to achieve the following ambitious goals:

End the illicit movement of people and goods through the Darién by both land and maritime corridors, which leads to death and exploitation of vulnerable people for significant profit.

Open new lawful and flexible pathways for tens of thousands of migrants and refugees as an alternative to irregular migration.

The document did not explain the price that Biden’s pro-migration border chief paid to the two countries for their cooperation. That price is likely an agreement to let some of their citizens take Americans’ jobs in the United States.

The Panama shutdown comes amid evidence that migrants are ignoring Mayorkas’ much-touted plan to reduce deter migration and border chaos during the 2024 political campaign.

border - A forensics team bury a group of 15 migrants who died trying to cross the Darien Gap, at the Guayabillo cemetery in Agua Fria, Panama, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. The migrants, who are buried with plasticized card containing what little information investigators were able to gather, die of natural causes or in accidental deaths while crossing the Darien jungle trying to make their way to the United States. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

A forensics team bury a group of 15 migrants who died trying to cross the Darien Gap, at the Guayabillo cemetery in Agua Fria, Panama, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

Media reports show that many more migrants — including many Venezuelans and Haitians — are gathering at the Texas border so they can rush across once Biden lifts the Title 42 border barrier on May 11. Most of those migrants crossed the Darien gap earlier this year.

The number of migrants pushing through the deadly Darien Gap has dramatically increased this year after Mayorkas sharply reduced the traffic of Venezuelan and Haitian migrants last November.

Roughly 90,000 migrants crossed the gap this year.

Also, many more youths are risking their lives by crossing the Darien Gap, according to an AFP news service report from Panama on March 31:

According to UNICEF, between January and February 2023 about 9,700 minors crossed the Darien Gap; in the same period of the previous year, some 1,400 were documented.

“Our teams on the ground have never seen such numbers of children crossing the Panamanian jungle alone or with their parents,” Panama-based Garry Conille, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said in a statement.

The youths likely are hoping to get jobs by moving through the ‘Unaccompanied Alien Children” loophole in the border.

Mayorkas’s deputies are trying to prevent a politically risky buildup of migrants on the Mexican side of the border.

On April 11, for example, CBS News reported that Mayorkas’ deputies were planning to reduce the border buildup by admitting roughly 8,000 more economic migrants each month via the “CBP One” side door in the border. That electronic side door is already being used to admit 20,000 illegal migrants per month — or 240,000 per year — so they won’t be counted in the monthly report about illegal migration numbers.

On April 7, Breitbart News reported that Mayorkas’ border agents have been told to let Venezuelan migrants apply for asylum, despite a January policy to exclude them.

The Darien Gap

In January 2021, just after Biden was elected, many economic migrants from Haiti, Venezuela, Ecuador, and other countries began using the Darien Gap jungle trail to cross the roadless mountains between South America and Central America.

Once across the gap, the migrants trek up to the border where Mayorkas let them into the United States to replace Americans in housing and jobs.

Many witnesses claimed that thousands of migrants died on the seven-day struggle along the trail as it goes over mountains, across rivers, and through jungles.

WATCH: Venezuelan Migrant Films Deadly Journey Through Panama Jungle to U.S. Via The Darien Gap

Yunior Rangel, Venezuelan Migrant (Used with Permission)

“There’s more vultures out there than I’ve seen anywhere in the world,” journalist Michael Yon told a December 7 meeting arranged by the Center for Immigration Studies. He continued:

After being down there for months, and interviewing just tons of people — hundreds — I’m going to guess 10 percent die out there. And if 100,000 people came through this year, that’s 10,000 people [dead].

In late 2021, a few U.S. newspaper reports sketched the death toll.

The news prompted Mayorkas to open a second, shorter, and safer trail along the Panama coast and through a shorter, flatter jungle trail. He visited the area by helicopter and also provided taxpayer funds for aid centers, a security force, and a bus network to get the job-seeking migrants onto the Panamanian roads toward distant Texas.

Mayorkas’ new jungle trail was even busier and also killed more people — but it also delivered at least 250,000 more migrants to his border welcome in 2022.

The U.S. establishment media and establishment GOP politicians have ignored the ghastly death toll on Mayorkas’ migrant road. For example, this April 8 report from has gotten little publicity:

A day after their incursion into the jungle, the [Venezuelan] family ran out of food. Generous Haitians shared tuna cans and instant noodles the family hydrated with water from the river, though much of the way was dotted with the bodies of people in varying states of decomposition. “When we would get to the river, we’d see the dead inside the water, but we would still drink the water,” Michelle [Rojas] admitted. They had limited survival options.

The parents became sick after their first day. Michelle became feverish. The sickness lasted for weeks. As they continued forward, they stumbled upon more of those who did not survive the expedition: a woman facing down on the river, her body bloated and darkened, a skull and leathery legs decomposing by river rocks surrounded by the clothing once worn by the deceased, and a man face down in a shallow stream. The sights and odors demanded attention and claimed permanent residence in their minds.

“We even saw a toddler’s body wrapped up in some blankets,” Henry remembered.

Some stories got through the media blackout. For example, CNN’s Ray Sanchez slipped this horror story into a September 2022 report:

The couple [Pedro Luis Torrealba, and his wife] started the roadless crossing on the border between Colombia and Panama — the deadly Darién Gap — with more than 60 other migrants, Torrealba said outside the parish house on Thursday night. Only 22 completed the trek across the 60 miles of jungle and steep mountains, he said. Some fell from cliffs, others were swept away by flood waters.

In February 2023, 39 more Mayorkas migrants were killed as they were being bussed from the trailhead to Panama’s road network.

Accidents happen in Panama …, [but] his hand is on it,” said Todd Bensman, an immigration analyst who has traveled widely through Central America, told Breitbart News in February.

But the politics of Mayorkas’ chaotic migration are toxic to Biden’s 2024 campaign.

In November and January, Biden’s deputies and Mayorkas adopted a new PR strategy to minimize the monthly reports about the number of job-seeking, wage-cutting illegal migrants at the border.

The strategy was applauded by Democrats and their media allies — but it seems to be failing because migrants know that Biden’s deputies do not want to stop the migrants.

The PR strategy has three carrots and a stick.

The first carrot is a so-called “parole pathway” that flies 360,000 approved migrants each year from their homes in Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua straight to U.S. airports and U.S. jobs. That plan was announced in January after Mayorkas sharply reduced the Darien Gap flow in November.

The second carrot is the so-called “CBP One” cellphone app. The app allows economic migrants who reach northern Mexico to cross the U.S. border legally so they can apply for asylum and be released to find jobs that will pay their smuggling debts.

Officials said they would allow roughly 240,000 people a year to cross — but CBS News reported on April 11 that officials plan to bump that number up to perhaps 320,000 migrants per year because many additional migrants are crowding into U.S.-funded aid stations in northern Mexico.

This catch-and-release program has been ruled illegal by a Florida judge, but it seems to be still operating.

There is a third, little-mentioned carrot for migrants to stay off the monthly reports: Mayorkas does not jail illegal migrants who are caught as they try to sneak across the border. So the stealthy movement of the uncaught migrant “gotaways” through the scrubland has reduced the monthly number of illegal migrants by roughly 1.5 million since January 2001.

That quiet diversion is helping Biden claim he has the border under control even as his deputies have admitted more than 3 million poor migrants seeking homes, jobs, and medical aid since January 2021.

The one stick is a promise that the Mayorkas would quickly repatriate migrants who do not use the parole pathway or the CBP One app.

But that threat has little impact, partly because many migrants are moving to northern Mexico and waiting for Biden to end the Title 42 border barrier on May 11.

Once that date passes. migrants know that officials will not want to detain them — and that Mayorkas’s department has shut down many of the detention facilities it would need to end the current catch-and-release policies.

The failure to deter migrants from moving into Mexico may explain why Mayorkas is now trying to block migrants from crossing the Darien Gap trail into Central America.

The federal government has long operated an unpopular economic policy of Extraction Migration. This colonialism-like policy extracts vast amounts of human resources from needy countries, reduces beneficial trade, and uses the imported workers, renters, and consumers to grow Wall Street and the economy.

The migrant inflow has successfully forced down Americans’ wages and also boosted rents and housing prices. The inflow has also pushed many native-born Americans out of careers in a wide variety of business sectors and contributed to the rising death rate of poor Americans.

The lethal policy also sucks jobs and wealth from heartland states by subsidizing coastal investors with a flood of low-wage workers, high-occupancy renters, and government-aided consumers.

The population inflow also reduces the political clout of native-born Americans, because it allows elites to divorce themselves from the needs and interests of ordinary Americans.

Migration — and especially, labor migration — is unpopular among swing voters. A 54 percent majority of Americans say Biden is allowing a southern border invasion, according to an August 2022 poll commissioned by the left-of-center National Public Radio (NPR). The 54 percent “Invasion” majority included 76 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents, and even 40 percent of Democrats



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