Panama initiate discussion on initiative would toughen immigration law

Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

Panama's National Assembly will begin discussions of a proposal that seeks to toughen immigration law, implying among other things increased sanctions against those who "offend" national and occupy exclusive jobs for Panamanians, even reach the deportation, and proposes to create a special unit for greater control of foreigners.

The project aims at a regularization consonant with the reality of the country, without quarreling with the aspirations and conditions of Panamanians, It is according to a statement of the Assembly of Deputies.

The initiative was presented by the deputy of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (FART) in government, Zulay Rodríguez, who has complained about the "surge" of foreigners living in the country at what he considers a relaxation of immigration laws in the last decade as a result of extraordinary regularization programs such as the so-called "Crizol of Races".

Rodriguez said during the first debate will present a package of proposals 55 articles, which contain aspects of foreigners who have committed crimes, with criminal records, without financial solvency.

It will also include a glossary to explain what things the law considered an offense against the country or endangering the safety in danger, with that answer to the questions made by some sectors they complain that the initiative is not clear about these issues.

Discussion of the proposal will be held "open house" to give opportunity to all interested in the subject to participate to expand, adapt and improve the content with which it seeks "that no displacements (foreign), and those who are legally not affected ", said the deputy.

Experts have expressed concern about the controversy that has arisen following the submission of the initiative that raised the speech against foreigners in the country, while employers are afraid that the reform as it is, scare away foreign investment, which they are key to the development and growth of the Panamanian economy.

The project provides "clear rules on deportation and visa for tourists and investors set", but nevertheless, Rodriguez deputy said that " (foreign) who come to invest financially they are welcome ", but said that the undocumented and those who "are not contributing" risk of being deported.

In mid-July, Executive distanced himself from the initiative after Vice President Gabriel Carrizo ensure that the new government would seek to establish an immigration policy as state policy, which it would be needed to accommodate different initiatives.

He then said a cabinet of ministers, the goal is to create a long-term policy to generate investments and defend the interests of Panamanians, but without violating international agreements signed by the country.

“We are looking for good investments and capital come to the country, but also we defend national interests, but with respect, without violence, or discrimination, or violating international agreements”, Carrizo said.

Carrizo was responding to questions generated by the initiative of the pro-government deputy who has rekindled the speech against immigrants.

Panama has become an attractive country for foreigners due to the economic prosperity and political and democratic stability that characterized the last decade, also it is a must for thousands of Cubans, and extra-Haitian migrants seeking to reach the United States through Central America.

Between 2010 Y 2018, about 106 thousand foreigners residing in Panama obtained following processes extraordinary regularized, including the "melting pot", according to the National Migration Service.