Through mid-December, 126,675 unlawful migrants had entered
Panama after crossing the Darien Gap, a remote stretch of jungle on the border
between Panama and Colombia, according to the latest security ministry data.
The 2022 figure marks a massive jump compared to the
previous year, when less than 9,000 migrants crossed into Panama from Colombia
without legal authorisation.
In fact, the 2022 wave of migrants is greater than the
combined figure of the previous 11 years, when a total of around 118,000
unlawful migrants crossed into Panama from Colombia, according to official
Record numbers of migrants have been apprehended at the
US-Mexico border this year, largely comprised of Central Americans as well as
Haitians who fled extreme poverty, gangland violence and natural disasters in
their home countries.
Panamanian Security Minister Juan Pino said earlier this
week that he expects to trend to continue, due in large part to
pandemic-related economic hardships.