Panama’s President-Elect Pledges to Deport Illegal Immigrants Crossing the Darien Gap

Panama’s Darien Gap lies on the border with Colombia to the south. It is a crucial passageway for illegal immigrants traveling from South America to the United States. Panama’s president-elect Jose Raul Mulino said on Thursday that the country will deport illegal immigrants traveling to the United States as they enter Panama through the notoriously dangerous stretch of jungle.   


“In order to do away with the odyssey that is the Darien Gap … with international aid we will begin a process of repatriation, in full compliance with the human rights of all the people there,” Mulino said in a speech to the election body that formally declared him president after last Sunday’s polls.

If true, Panama’s newly elected president will do what President Biden is not willing to do – secure his border to prevent illegal immigration. 

The Darien Gap is a 165-mile stretch along the border with Colombia. Cartels are leading illegal immigrants heading to the United States from South America then Central America and Mexico. It is a dense jungle, the terrain is treacherous, and there are wild animals and violent criminal gangs. The gangs extort the illegals, kidnap them, and abuse them.

The Darien Gap is a highly traveled route for illegal immigrants, especially Venezuelans. In 2023, 520,000 people crossed through the gap. That was a record. 120,000 of them were children. Not only are adults risking their lives, but they risk the lives of their children. In 2022, 62 people died making the trek. So many people came through that the Panamanian government had to set up facilities and earmark resources to help them. 


President-Elect Mulino is a 64-year-old conservative lawyer. He pledged during his campaign that he would shut down the border

But Mulino, a conservative lawyer aged 64, pledged during the election campaign that he would shut it down. “Those who are down there,” he said, referring to people in South America, “and those who would like to come, need to know that whoever arrives here is going to be sent back to their country of origin,” Mulino said Thursday. “Our Darien is not a transit route, no sir. It is our border,” he said.

Deportation works. We have former President Trump’s record on the southern border to show that to be true. Trump had an agreement with Mexico to hold illegal aliens in Mexico until their asylum claims were processed. Joe Biden ended the Remain in Mexico agreement on his first day in office. The results of Biden’s dereliction of duty were immediate and disastrous. 

Last week, Mexico began requiring visas for Peruvian visitors. The action was in response to a major influx of illegal immigrants from Peru. It is the same move Mexico made to curtail illegal immigration by Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, and Brazilians. Mexico eliminated the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. southern border and then entering America illegally. 


Once the people fly to a Mexican city like Tijuana, across from San Diego, they are guided by human traffickers through a remote opening in the border wall. Then they wait for Border Patrol agents to pick them up and drive them to a station for processing. The Border Patrol is overwhelmed by the number of illegals and it takes some time for them to pick the illegals up and process them.

The new president of Panama would probably partner with Trump if he wins in November. It sounds like they are on the same wavelength. 



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