Panama's new president vows to halt illegal immigration through the country towards the US

Jose Mulino, Panama's newly elected president, has pledged to curb the flow of illegal migrants passing through his country en route to the US border

Mulino was declared the winner of Panama’s election on Sunday, capturing 34% of the vote. The rightwing former public security minister has run a campaign promising to restore a prosperous economy in the country. 

While focusing on revitalizing the nation's economy, Mulino has also committed to addressing immigration challenges in cooperation with the United States. Mulino has promised to shut down the Darien Gap, a dense jungle area in Panama serving as a corridor for illegal migrants journeying to the US.

In 2023 alone, over half a million migrants traveled through this route, marking a significant increase from previous years, according to CNN. Most of these migrants are reportedly coming from Venezuela, and 113,000 of the migrants who passed through last year were children.

“The border of the United States, instead of being in Texas, moved to Panama,” explained Mulino.

US efforts to collaborate with Panama and Colombia to shut down this migration pathway have been ongoing, but Mulino’s election may make this plan a reality.

Mulino has previously emphasized that his administration will not tolerate uncontrolled migration, stating that he “will not permit thousands of illegals to pass through our territory like nothing, without control.”

“We’re going to close the Darién and we’re going to repatriate all these people,” said Mulino.

The announcement that Mulino won Panama’s presidential election comes at a surprise, as he was a last-minute candidate on the ballot. Mulino was originally supposed to be Vice President under Ricardo Martinelli, but Marintelli was sentenced to ten years in prison for money laundering and embezzlement. After this announcement came, Mulino became the Presidential candidate.


Image: Title: Mulino
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