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U.S., Colombian and Panamanian officials visit Darien Gap to strengthen migration coordination
February 16, 2023

On February 14, 2023, officials from the United States, Colombia, and Panama met in Apartadó, Colombia, and traveled to Alto de Limón, a joint Colombian-Panamanian security base, to better understand the challenges of collaborative migration management. After a flyover of the area, the officials received briefings from Colombian and Panamanian security and migration officials. The three sides committed to close coordination.    

Among the officials who traveled were U.S. Ambassador to Panama Mari Carmen Aponte; Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota Francisco Palmieri; Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva; Colombian Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez; Colombian Migration Director Fernando Garcia; Panamanian Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney; and Panamanian Security Minister Juan Pino. 

The United States recognizes that in order to promote safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration, comprehensive regional and global plans are needed to address these complex issues. To that end, in June 2022, 21 countries, including the United States, Colombia, and Panama, endorsed the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection to strengthen our shared response to irregular migration and forced displacement throughout the Western Hemisphere.   

“Irregular migration is a regional challenge that requires coordinated solutions,” said Chargé d’Affaires Francisco Palmieri. “We will continue to work with the governments of Colombia and Panama to protect vulnerable migrants and prevent the risks associated with this dangerous journey.” 

The United States also continues to implement programs throughout the Hemisphere, including Colombia, to address the drivers of irregular migration. These programs improve conditions at the local level so that people do are not forced to leave their homes; support efforts to facilitate the socio-economic integration of migrants in host communities; and combat illegal human smuggling and trafficking operations that promote and facilitate the dangerous crossing through the Darien Gap. In addition, the United States recently announced several procedures to assist certain nationalities in applying for a temporary stay permit from abroad (https://www.uscis.gov/CHNV).