Panama Issues Warning Amid Immigration Crisis

Panama Issues Warning Amid Immigration Crisis

( – Officials in Panama sent the United States government yet another warning about illegal immigration this week, which is on the rise. They expect about 60,000 Haitian and Central American migrants to arrive at the southern border over the next few weeks. Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes also recently told Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) al-Qaeda insurgents may be sneaking along for the ride.

A Strong Warning

Mouynes didn’t mince words on September 29, calling the US government’s apparent shock over the border crisis disingenuous at best. The Foreign Minister says she’s been warning American officials about migration for months with little effect.

Reports say that over 85,000 migrants crossed through Panama’s Darién Gap, a national park and wilderness zone spanning over 500,000 hectares, from January through September 2021. Nearly all came from Haiti, where they faced extreme poverty, political turmoil, and general societal unrest.

In one recent and chaotic incident in Texas, approximately 12,000 Haitians crossed the Rio Grande on foot despite efforts to deter the caravan. They immediately formed a makeshift camp under the region’s well-known Del Rio international bridge.

Squalid conditions forced officials to intervene. They had to transport the Haitians to other areas of the United States, or in some cases, fly them back to the Caribbean.

Other Concerns on the Horizon

The influx of Haitians isn’t the only concern stemming from the ongoing crisis at America’s southern border. Mouynes also claims Panama intelligence agents successfully identified a number of al-Qaeda operatives hidden among the large-scale caravans.

It isn’t clear what, if anything, these individuals hope to achieve by arriving at the southern border. Still, in the wake of a messy withdrawal from Afghanistan and the resulting Taliban takeover, it’s difficult to envision any positive reason for them to be heading toward the border.

The CIA has been aware of the presence of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas in Central and South America for some time now. In fact, former Director Larry C. Johnson told the Senate he had direct proof of an active terrorist network in Panama’s Colon Free Zone back in 2001.

Whether Haitians, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda or Hamas, the severe influx of people demanding asylum at the border raises the same important questions about border security. Republicans question why the Biden administration isn’t taking more action. Are simple deportations really enough to address the risk of 60,000 people crossing the border — some of whom may be terrorists?

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