U.S.-Panama-Colombia deal says it will curb Darien Gap migration

Published: Friday, April 14, 2023 - 6:02pm

The governments of Panama, Colombia and the U.S. say they’re working together on a two-month campaign to curb migration through a deadly land crossing called the Darien Gap. 

The campaign was announced in a trilateral agreement between the countries this week.

The Darien Gap gets its name because it’s a break in the Pan-American highway. It’s a roughly 60-mile stretch of rugged, roadless jungle and rainforest along the Colombia-Panama border that connects South and Central America. 

According to research from the Council on Foreign Relations, the gap has become a major crossing for thousands of asylum seekers and migrants over the last few years, as enforcement policies narrow air and sea options. 

The three governments say this new, 60-day campaign aims to reduce the number of people coming through the gap and open new legal pathways for migrants and refugees. They say the campaign will also work to reduce poverty and promote economic opportunity in border communities in Colombia and Panama.

Though the agreement itself doesn't give details, earlier this week, a senior Biden official told the Associated Press that U.S. forces would assist in intelligence gathering to "dismantle dismantle smuggling rings" active in the Darien Gap, but didn't specify whether those U.S. forces would be military or civilian. 

FronterasImmigration Southwest Border