Number Of US-Bound Migrants Crossing Darien Gap In 2023 Has Now Surpassed All Of 2022

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John Oyewale Contributor
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A record 250,000-odd migrants crossed the Darien Gap from January to July in 2023, exceeding the number of migrants who made the dangerous crossing in all of 2022, the Associated Press (AP) reports, citing Panamanian authorities.

A total of 248,901 migrants crossed the gap through July 31, with 21% of them being children or adolescents, AP reported Monday, citing Panama’s National Immigration Service. The figure reportedly surpasses 2022’s total. The perilous, jungle-clad gap links South America to Central America and is traversed by U.S.-bound migrants mainly from Venezuela but also from regions on the African and Asian continents, according to AP.

The U.S., Panama and Colombia in April launched a trinational “60-day surge campaign to address the unprecedented migration through the dangerous Darien corridor,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. The campaign “focused on disrupting criminal networks that facilitate the illicit movement of people and increasing state presence in the jungle.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Red Cross Packets Show Migrants Where To Cross The US Border)

The number of migrants traversing the 66-mile “swath of dense jungle” straddling Colombia and Panama is projected to nearly double by the end of 2023, potentially reaching 400,000, according to UNICEF. There is also an “unprecedented” amount of unaccompanied children crossing the gap, the organization reported. The route is reportedly one of the most dangerous in the world. The migrants, from countries as disparate as Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador, China and Colombia, have left their homes due to conflict, climate change and more, according to UNICEF. Still, the migrants are almost certain to face “armed assault,” trafficking, robberies and sexual assault along the way, the organization reported, as well as disease, wild animal attacks and rushing rivers.