Panama’s government announced on Tuesday that several Latin American countries, along with the United States, are looking to establish a series of formal routes that allow migrants to move safely without risking their lives.
The initiative was followed by a meeting between a delegation from the United States with representatives from the Directorates of Migration for Costa Rica, Colombia and Panama, which acted as hosts.
“A number of proposals were evaluated at this meeting,” said Maria Isabel Sarvia, director in charge of Panama’s National Immigration Service, in a statement.
“Most importantly, the states present agreed to establish safe and formal routes that help prevent smuggling of migrants, human trafficking and above all, protect security,” he said.
The meeting, behind closed doors and without a press conference, was attended by, in addition to Sarvia, Costa Rica’s Director of Immigration and Immigration, Marlene Luna, and her Colombian counterpart Carlos García.
The note did not specify which US officials attended the meeting.
According to Saravia, seven points were decided in the meeting to prepare a roadmap to deal with irregular migration, which will be discussed again on the 9th.
“The existence of the crisis was recognized at the regional level which includes four countries,” Sarvia said in an interview to reporters.
The meeting came amid the migrant crisis that Panama is going through, where more than 200,000 people, mainly Venezuelans, crossed the inaccessible Darien jungle this year.
The Panamanian wilderness, bordering Colombia, has become a corridor for irregular migration from South America into the United States by crossing Central America.
However, hundreds of Venezuelans are stranded in Panama after Washington announced last month that it would not accept migrants from the country who crossed over to Panama and Mexico illegally.