The United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned that despite the fact that the flow of migrants crossing the southern border of the United States has decreased, following the end of Title 42 and the reinstatement of Title 8, this year A record number of foreigners crossing the dangerous jungle between Panama and Colombia will be on their way to the US.
As of midnight last Thursday, the number of migrants detained trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States has dropped sharply, with the end of this immigration policy set in motion by the COVID-19 pandemic.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas; Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico; And the US ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, has reported a 50% reduction since the Joe Biden government brought Title 8 back into US law.
Under this regulation, the standards for granting humanitarian asylum to migrants have been raised, as they must now legally request it outside the US, having previously applied in another country. Applicants will be able to complete their process from the CBPOne application, or visit the recently established processing centers in Colombia and Guatemala.
The regulation also imposes more severe consequences for migrants, as if they are detained by the Border Patrol without documents, they will be deported to Mexico and will not be able to request asylum for at least 5 years. And if they do it again, they could face criminal charges.
Experts and US officials themselves have said that these restrictions have discouraged immigration, a situation that is evident in the reduction of irregular crossings when Title 42 was still in force.
However, according to the UNHCR, in the first four months of 2023, the number of migrants crossing the jungle separating Panama from Colombia, known as the Darien Gap, is set to multiply by six, which is the highest in the region. Immigration is a challenge to policies. ,
“The number of people crossing Darien has been very high (compared to last year) and, if this trend continues, we will see a record number of people crossing from Colombia to Panama, which will be much higher than in 2022. There will be a higher number,” UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements told Reuters.
The commissioner admitted that the movement has slowed down in recent times, “but the reasons for people moving to other places have not changed; These reasons must be addressed,” he said. Similarly, he added that 20% of people who pass through Darien are fleeing violence in their countries.
With regard to countries of origin, the majority of people using this route come from Venezuela, followed by Haiti and Ecuador. In recent years, at least 7.1 million Venezuelans have left their country, according to UN figures, fleeing the economic and social collapse the oil nation is experiencing.
Along the way, according to the UNHCR, people are exposed to violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking and disease.
Noting that Mexico and Panama have a “disproportionate” burden of migrants, Clementes advocated a regional approach to find practical solutions. This gave as an option that other countries could receive asylum seekers while waiting for a response from the US, rather than living on Mexico’s northern border and living in adverse conditions.
In December last year, the UN reported that it needed about $1.72 billion to aid Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, it received only a quarter of the required funds, forcing the organization to reduce its aid programs.