Some 900 Venezuelan migrants who were in a shelter in Panama City have voluntarily returned to their country in recent days on “humanitarian flights”, the director of the Panamanian Migration office, Samira Gozaine, reported on Tuesday (10.25.2022).
In these transfers, priority has been given to children and pregnant women who were in a temporary shelter set up by the Venezuelan diplomatic mission in Panama, said the head of the National Migration Service (SNM).
Gozaine explained that more than 80 children and more than 35 pregnant women have left on these humanitarian flights, so that in the shelter “only the least vulnerable people remain, who are with their families, young men.”
“Approximately 600 people are missing here, some are on their way, several have bought their (plane) ticket with the (diplomatic) mission, several will leave on other types of flights, there are many donors who are coming to donate and buy tickets for them,” the official said.
#Panamá, a través del Servicio Nacional de Migración (SNM) y personal de organismos internacionales, continúa brindando asistencia humanitaria a diversos grupos de migrantes irregulares venezolanos que se encuentran temporalmente en el paíshttps://t.co/e0VUhqWWxg pic.twitter.com/6EkbFWYrZr— La Estrella | Panamá (@EstrellaOnline) October 24, 2022
On October 12, the United States launched a migration regulation that indicates that any Venezuelan who enters that country after irregularly crossing the border between Mexico and Panama will be expelled to Mexican territory.
The measure was announced in the midst of a growing regional migration crisis patented by the unprecedented figure of more than 206,000 irregular travelers who have arrived in Panama this year, the vast majority Venezuelans, on their way to North America, after crossing the dangerous border jungle of the Darien .
The flow of migrants decreases
The Panamanian authorities are already seeing a “considerable” drop in the numbers of migrants arriving in the country through the Darien, said the head of the Panamanian National Border Service, Oriel Ortega.
Another effect of the US measure is that many Venezuelans who were in irregular transit are choosing to return to their country, which led to the opening of the temporary shelter in Panama City by the Venezuelan diplomatic mission.
In a meeting with both parliamentarians, the president of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, asked the United States for “support” to deal with the historic flow of irregular migrants that arrive in this country on their way to North America.
“Panama is a country with few resources and we are supporting the return of Venezuelans to their country. In this year alone, 206,000 migrants have passed through the Darien, 170,000 of them Venezuelans. We need support from the United States,” the Panamanian president said, according to the statement.
Panama receives irregular migrants in transit at migratory reception stations (ERM) located on the border with Colombia (south) and Costa Rica (north), where they take their biometric data and offer them food and medical attention, an operation that It has consumed about 50 million dollars between 2020 and this year according to official figures.