Exclusive: State Department Funds Smuggling of Global Migrants to U.S.

Migrants to U.S. Pass Through Panama
AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco

The U.S. State Department is providing assistance that helps Panama smuggle U.S.-bound illegal migrants from Haiti, Cuba, and outside the Americas through its territory, Breitbart News has learned.

Panama and neighboring Costa Rica have implemented a joint policy, known as “controlled flow,” to secure safe passage to many migrants illegally traveling through their territories on their way to the United States.

Instead of detaining the illegal migrants and sending them back to their home country, the governments of Panama and Costa Rica essentially serve as coyotes, providing transportation through their territory and getting them closer to the U.S.

Todd Bensman, a “controlled flow” expert at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told Breitbart News that the two Central American countries decided to take over the smuggling of migrants transiting from unscrupulous human traffickers who were abusing them during a surge in 2016.

He urged the American government to “use diplomatic muscle” on the Panamanian and Costa Rican governments to “end this practice because it’s essentially smuggling” that puts U.S. national security at risk.

He recommended that Americans provide the resources to those two countries necessary for detention, housing, adjudication, and then flights for deportation.

Breitbart News asked the State Department whether it helps Panama deal with the migrants transiting through its territory on their way to the United States.

A State Department spokesperson acknowledged that it provides humanitarian assistance to Panama through international organization partners to enhance its ability to manage and protect migrants during emergencies and crises.

Currently, Panama is facing an unprecedented influx of migrants en route to the United States. It detained some terrorists who were trying to blend in with the migrants, the Central American country’s foreign minister revealed.

“In Panama, through our international organization partners, the United States provides basic humanitarian aid to asylum seekers, refugees, and vulnerable migrants, and supports efforts to increase access to local services,” the spokesperson told Breitbart News.

“The U.S. Government also supports the efforts of multiple Panamanian agencies to secure Panama’s borders,” the official also said.

The State official told Breitbart News the department “promotes integration opportunities that give these vulnerable populations a viable alternative to continuing a journey northward irregularly.”

U.S. humanitarian assistance to migrants in Panama is part of “the Biden Administration’s vision for safe, orderly, and humane migration, and for addressing shared regional migration challenges, including forced displacement, collaboratively,” the State official added.

However, the spokesperson failed to mention that the State Department is helping Panama manage U.S. -bound migrants smuggled towards America by its government.

“If the State Department is still aiding and assisting this is to the detriment of American national security because you’re enabling mass migration from countries of terrorism concern and African atrocity zones, war zones where terrible war criminals and war crimes are being committed, and we don’t know if these are the persecutors or the persecuted coming through,” the CIS expert noted.

In an article recently published by Foreign Policy (FP), Panama’s Foreign Minister, Erika Mouynes, acknowledged:

Since 2016, the governments of Panama and Costa Rica have worked together to put in place a joint policy to secure safe passage of migrants through our territories based on each country’s ability to ensure migrants’ care and safety. … Currently, more than 1,000 migrants arrive in Panama every day from Colombia, and only 50 to 100 are allowed to proceed into Costa Rica.

Piotr Plewa, an expert on migration trends through the Darien Gap jungle straddling Colombia and Panama, wrote early this year that Panamanian authorities only transport up to 100 individuals to Costa Rica daily due to the time it takes to vet the growing number of migrants.

To cross into Panama from Colombia, illegal migrants travel through the treacherous Darien Gap, a swath of lawless, dense, and deadly jungle connecting Colombia to Panama.

The jungle serves as a transit point for U.S.-bound migrants from the Caribbean – mainly Haitians and Cubans – Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, home to several Islamic terrorist groups seeking to harm the U.S.

Mouynes revealed that Panama’s biometric identification measures have resulted in the recent detention of terrorists and individuals linked to extremist groups attempting to blend in with the ongoing wave of migrants.

Early this year, Plewa confirmed that Panama provides assistance to the U.S.-bound illegal migrants who crossed into its territory with the support of the State Department.

He wrote in March:

Panama’s so-called “controlled flow” system has been set up with the help of U.S. authorities and has been largely viewed as beneficial for the two countries. It provides the U.S. with an early warning information of who heads towards its borders and does not oblige Panama to either receive or deport the migrants.

During the wait Panamanian migration authorities and more recently UN-family organizations have provided migrants with basic food and medical care, some of which has been supported by the U.S. Department of State.

“Controlled flow” helps the United States with counterterrorism operations, Bensman noted, adding that the Trump administration tried to do something about the policy, paying Panama to deport the migrants instead of allowing them through.

Plewa asserted Panamanian migration authorities only facilitate the transit of U.S.-bound migrants through its territory who have valid passports, clear security, and biometric checks, as well as certain immunizations.

However, to sneak into Panama, migrants must first enter South America in places with lax visa rules. Venezuela, deemed a haven for Iran’s narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah by the State Department, is known to sell government-issued passports, birth certificates, and other identification documents.


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