Blinken promotes support for communities receiving migrants and refugees

Antony Blink, United States Secretary of State. Photo: Courtesy of the United States Embassy in Panama.

Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

Panama – United States Secretary of State, Antony Blink, urged the governments of the region to work together and more effectively to help stabilize and strengthen the communities that host migrants and refugees in the face of the growing irregular migratory flow.

Blinken said that the situation has reached unprecedented levels associated with phenomena such as poverty, repressive governance, corruption, and conflicts exacerbated by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“…the only lasting and sustainable response to irregular migration is to address its root causes, but that takes time. And meanwhile, many cities and towns simply don't have the resources they need to serve their own citizens, much less to meet the needs of migrants”, Blinken said.

Senior US official and Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas led the US delegation that participated in a meeting on migration held in Panama with the participation of delegations from 20 countries of origin, transit and destination of migrants.

At the end of the meeting, the authorities agreed to establish a framework led by the foreign ministers to standardize continental policies, cooperation between states, development banks, and international organizations to attend in an orderly manner, safe and humanitarian the high migratory flows.

The Foreign Minister of Panama, Erika Mouynes insisted that regional cooperation will be decisive in establishing safer migration, and the support of the United States as the main destination for foreigners who enter the country irregularly.

“…effective and lasting control can be achieved with a regional strategy…which must be permanent”, he claimed.

Within the framework of this cooperation, Panama and the United States announced a letter of understanding for migration management and protection of migrants, announced the US Embassy.

In essence, they detailed joint commitments with a view to improving the management of irregular migration, expand stabilization efforts in favor of host communities and displaced populations, as well as increasing the protection of migrants and their access to legal alternatives.

Panama is used as a transit route for thousands of migrants every year, a situation that worsened with the closure of borders as a result of the pandemic.

It is estimated that from 2009 about 265 thousand migrants crossed the dangerous jungles and maritime routes of Darién bordering Colombia with a record of almost 134 thousand in 2021, mostly Haitians exposed to traffickers, thieves and wild animals, in fact last year they reported 51 deaths, according to official figures.

As far as 2022 some 15 a thousand have crossed the country, much of whom are Venezuelans, according to the National Migration Service.

The government of President Joe Biden has insisted on the need to work together on the root of irregular migration.

As an example, he recalled the call to action of Vice President Kamala Harris to the private sector, that in just months has gathered some 1,200 million dollars in investments to support social and economic progress in northern Central America, Blinken added.

While, Colombia has registered more than 1,9 million Venezuelans in temporary protected status, of which more than 600,000 have received the benefit, Blinken recalled.