Tens of thousands of Haitian migrants have already traversed through Panama on their way to the United States, but a top Panama official has a warning for the U.S.: Many more are on the way.
Panama Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes told Axios that up to 60,000 migrants are believed to be traveling north toward the U.S. Most of those migrants are of Haitian origin.
In fact, citing Panamanian governmental estimates, Axios reported that more migrants are expected “to cross through the dangerous jungles of the Darién Gap this month than in all of 2019 — nearly 27,000.”
Already this year, roughly Panama has seen roughly 85,000 migrants — a majority of whom are Haitian — pass through its borders as they trek north.
“When we receive them on the Panamanian side, they’re malnourished. The children are in terrible condition, so even getting them up to a healthy state takes time,” Mouynes said.
But according to the minister, the Biden administration seemed surprised by the migrant surge, despite the fact that “we sounded the alarm when we should have,” she said.
Mouynes believes it’s important for the U.S. to coordinate with other nations to solve the crisis. It’s also vital to recognize the truth of the matter, she suggested.
“Let’s recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S.” she told Axios.
She expressed frustration that some countries ignored Panama’s warnings about the looming crisis for months.
“We’ve engaged with every single authority that we can think of, that we can come across, to say, ‘Please, let’s pay attention to this,'” she said.
“We all have a role to play in this issue, and the regional approach is the correct approach,” Mouynes added. “It is impossible for Panama to solve it on its own.”
Mouynes met last week with members of Congress, including Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who heaped blame upon the Biden administration for failing to “enforce the law.”
This week, I sat down with the Foreign Minister of Panama. She described 80,000 Haitians heading toward the United States – all because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are refusing to enforce the law. They have a created a public health and humanitarian crisis. pic.twitter.com/yKgMi4C8bX
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 2, 2021
“This is all happening because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris refuse to enforce the law,” Cruz told Fox News, “and have essentially said anyone who wants to come to America, they’re gonna resettle them, they’re gonna give them benefits, they’re gonna let ’em stay, and it’s resulting in a public health crisis and a humanitarian crisis.”