Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes told Axios that Panama warned the Biden administration months in advance about a surge of Haitian migrants headed toward the southern border.
Mouynes also said Wednesday that another wave of migrants from Haiti, this one numbering as many as 60,000, is currently headed toward the United States. Panamanian government estimates provided to Axios reportedly showed that more migrants are expected to pass through the Darién Gap jungles in the next month than in all of 2019 combined.
From @axios: “Panama foreign minister Erika Mouynes expressed frustration to Axios that the Biden administration seemed caught off guard by the Haitian migrant crisis because ‘we sounded the alarm when we should have.'” And now: https://t.co/ql9LXKGM0G pic.twitter.com/oy8sKSLLk8
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 30, 2021
“Let’s recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S.,” Mouynes said, calling on the Biden administration to work with other countries in the region to enforce some control over the immigration process. (RELATED: US And Mexico Working Together To Stem Flow Of Haitian Migrants, Some Deported Shocked To Be Returned To Haiti)
“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,'” Mouynes added. The foreign minister met Monday and Tuesday with members of Congress and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in Washington, D.C.
More than 85,000 migrants, most of whom are Haitian, have passed through Panama since January, according to Axios. Mouynes reportedly said it was “shocking” that top immigration officials from Latin America, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. had not met to discuss the issue until August. (RELATED: Obama Calls Migrant Crisis ‘Heartbreaking,’ Dismisses Idea Of ‘Open Borders’)
Thousands of migrants of Haitian origin recently overwhelmed Border Patrol officials at the southern border before the Biden administration stepped in to begin deporting some of them. Images showed the migrants camped out in squalor under the international Del Rio bridge. The issue has split some Democrats, and Biden’s special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned over what he called the “inhumane” and “counterproductive” decision to deport some of the migrants.