14ymedio, Miami, 8 September 2016 — The National Immigration Service of Panama has deported a total of 478 foreigners to their countries of origin so far this year, according an official statement from the service.
According to the statement, the immigration agency deported and ordered to be banned from entering Panama migrants who arrived in the country in an “irregular” manner, remained in it undocumented, or engaged in “conduct that conflicts with morals and good behavior.”
The main nationalities that top the list of those deported are Colombians, with a total of 213 people, and Nicaraguans with around 100.
Speaking to 14ymedio, the agency asserted that among those deported were four Cubans who were returned to the island after being detained in Panama for not carrying the necessary documents. It is presumed they are the same individuals that the Immigration Service detained outside the shelters of Caritas Panama, where dozens of islanders have taken refuge since they became stranded on their way to the United States.
“The citizen who is deported cannot enter Panama for a period of five to ten years, from the date of their deportation,” the statement declares. It also includes the information that 89% of the deportees are men and 11% are women. In comparison to the same period for the proceeding year, there were 78 fewer deportations.
Due to its geographical location Panama is an enclave for the transit of thousands of undocumented immigrants seeking to reach the southern US border. This year alone, the country has had to undertake two humanitarian operations to transfer of some 5,000 Cubans who were stranded in within its borders.
On May 9, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela closed the borders of his country to undocumented travelers to prevent human trafficking. After the avalanche of transcontinental migrants, Haitians and Cubans who entered from Colombia a few weeks ago coming through the Darien jungle, the country implemented the “Controlled Flow” operation to assist migrants as long as they continue on their way. The closure of the borders of Nicaragua and Costa Rica has complicated the operation and there are now hundreds of people who have been trapped within the country, unable to continue on their way.
In recent years Panama has dismantled 13 organizations dedicated to trafficking in persons in its territory and rescued more than 120 victims. This is considered a drop in the ocean of the transcontinental traffic which generates millions of dollars in profits.