Panama announces plans to crack down on immigration from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua
- Panamanian officials have announced new restrictions on immigration from the three countries, including conducting financial checks and shortening the duration of tourist permits from 180 days to 90 days.
- Anti-immigration sentiment has grown over the last year, with Colombians and Venezuelans particularly targeted and maligned as connected to drug trafficking and other crime in the country.
- Around 250,000 have immigrated to Panama from the three countries since 2010.
“Panama to Crack Down on Immigration, Colombians and Venezuelans” (teleSUR | May 2017)
“Panama cuts stays for Colombians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans” (The Associated Press via The Washington Post | May 2017)
“Panama to tighten immigration policy for Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua” (Reuters | May 2017)
Surge in Cuban emigration spurs resentment in U.S. and bottleneck throughout Central America
- Taking advantage of Cuba’s 2012 removal of exit visas, more than 43,500 Cubans arrived in 2015, a 78% increase over 2014 and nearly six times as many as in 2011.
- Following an airlift of Cuban migrants traveling to the U.S. through Central America stuck at a closed Nicaraguan border, Costa Rica closed its borders to Cuban migrants, trapping thousands across its border with Panama in towns like Paso Canoas and Puerto Obaldia.
- With the reestablishment of U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, some have begun calling for a revision of the immigration policy that fast-tracks permanent residency for Cuban immigrants over others, including those from violence-riddled Central America.
“Cuban migration to US continues to swell on fears of losing privileges” (AP via The Guardian)
“Bound for U.S., Cuban migrants are stuck in Central America” (CNN)
“Cuban immigrants face resentment in Texas over ‘preferential treatment’” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman/New York Times/Redux/eyevine, via The Guardian)
Cuban asylum-seekers bound for U.S. stranded in Costa Rica and Panama as Nicaragua refuses entry
- As the influx of Cuban asylum-seekers increases to levels not seen since 1994’s “raft exodus,” more than 6,000 have found themselves stranded in Costa Rica and Panama for the last six weeks after having been refused entry to Nicaragua, whose government is allied with Raúl Castro’s.
- As Costa Rica has reversed its open transit policy for Cuban migrants, the Central American Integration System has arranged a massive airlift to El Salvador, allowing refugees to bypass Nicaragua, although thousands who began their journey in Ecuador are unaccounted for.
- Emigrant Cubans, fearing a revision of the U.S.’s “wet foot, dry foot” immigration policy allowing Cubans who land in the U.S. a path to permanent residency, have taken to Central American land routes in addition to well-known routes by sea.
“Central American countries agree airlift of Cuban migrants seeking to enter US” (The Guardian)
“Central American nations announce deal on Cuban migrants” (Miami Herald)
“Costa Rica deports Cubans amid ‘transit crisis’” (Deutsche Welle)
(Image Credit: Marcelino Rosario/EPA, via the Guardian)