Journalist Says UN Migrant Camp in Panama Being Expanded

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President Joe Biden’s administration is expanding a United Nations migrant camp near the Darien Gap in Panama, according to war correspondent Michael Yon, just weeks after announcing it is ending Title 42 expulsions with Mexico.

Speaking during a live Q&A on EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program, Yon noted that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is set to travel to Panama between April 19–20 to talk about “controlling the flow” of migrants through the Darien Gap.

The Darien Gap, which extends into Panama from Colombia, has become one of the most important routes for illegally trafficking migrants who try to reach the United States by passing through Central America.

Those migrants mainly come from Africa, Cuba, and Haiti and the journey is often extremely dangerous.

However, Yon, an investigative journalist and war correspondent, said that while Blinken states he will “discuss collaboration on safe, orderly, and humane migration throughout our hemisphere” during his visit, the Biden administration is actually “building” and “extending” the camp to house migrants taking the dangerous jungle route in an effort to seek asylum in the United States

“They’re building, they’re adding on the back of it,” Yon said. “So they’re expanding this camp. There were 130,000 that went through last year between this camp and a couple of others.”

Yon shared photographs recently taken by his drone from above the migrant camp. The images show some of the tents clearly marked with “OIM onu Migración,” also known as “The International Organization for Migration (IOM)” in English.

Epoch Times Photo
A canoe taking migrants down the Rio Tuquesa to the village La Peñita in Panama on May 27, 2021. (Courtesy of Michael Yon)
Epoch Times Photo
Haitian migrants cross the jungle of the Darien Gap near Acandi, Chocó Department in Colombia, heading to Panama on their way to the United States, on Sept. 26, 2021. (Raul Arboleda/Getty Images)

IOM is a United Nations agency that supports migrants across the world, providing services and advice to illegal aliens. It has also sheltered migrants in temporary housing.

The Epoch Times has contacted IOM for comment.

In March, IOM, citing statistics from Panamanian authorities, said that the number of Venezuelans crossing the Darien Gap in the first two months of this 2022 (roughly 2,500) has almost reached the entire total of 2,819 it reported for 2021.

Meanwhile, the total number of people crossing the jungle so far in 2022 has almost tripled compared to the same period last year, up from 2,928 in the first two months of 2021 to 8,456 in the same period of 2022.

“UNHCR and IOM recognize the Government of Panama’s positive efforts to provide assistance and reiterate their commitment to help the authorities ensure access to aid and protection for all those in need, including host communities,” IOM said in a statement last month.

Yon’s comments come shortly after the Biden administration’s decision to end expulsions under the Title 42 policy, which had allowed U.S. Border Patrol agents to turn most illegal aliens back to Mexico immediately if they posed a health threat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ending of the policy comes amid an influx of migrants attempting to enter the United States, and Border Patrol agents and local officials along the border are now preparing for more.

In March, the head of Border Patrol, Raul Ortiz, warned that the U.S. is on track to reach more than 1 million illegal alien encounters so far in the fiscal year 2022.

When asked how the ending of the Trump-era policy has affected the migrant crisis, Yon explained that there were more factors impacting immigration than the policy alone.

“The rains affected here so now we’re going into the rainy season,” he said. “So that will slow it [migration] down for a while but that’s normal and then we’re going to explode again. I know what’s going to happen, it’s going to explode.”

Katabella Roberts

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Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

Joshua Philipp

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Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.



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