April 12, 2024

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Migration appears to be declining fast in the Darién Gap, the treacherous jungle region straddling Colombia and Panama. A brief statement from Panama’s National Migration Service (SNM) reported that the agency registered 8,065 people in the first 11 days of April (probably the first 10 days, as the 11th wasn’t over when the SNM published its statement).

That would be a daily average of about 800—and on Wednesday, the SNM reported just 485 people. During the first three months of 2024, migration through the Darién Gap averaged 1,200 people per day, which itself was a stark drop from the record 2,643 people who passed through the Darién each day last August.

Reasons for the decline are not yet clear; we have heard no reports of policy changes being implemented or organized crime trends shifting in the past several weeks.

A decline in migration is also evident in Tijuana, where migrant shelters are down to 50 to 60 percent capacity, according to municipal migration office director Enrique Lucero, who added that the city is seeing far fewer non-Mexican migrants. However, the number of migrant apprehensions throughout Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector, which borders Tijuana and much of Mexico’s Baja California state, is steady.

This may indicate that fewer migrants are choosing to endure the months-long wait in the city for CBP One appointments at the San Ysidro port of entry: they may be opting to cross and turn themselves in to Border Patrol instead.

Police in Ciudad Juárez found a Venezuelan man severely beaten and left for dead not far from “Gate 36,” a site along the Rio Grande in El Paso where many asylum seekers try to turn themselves in to Border Patrol. “Some Juarez news portals reported the migrant was beaten by smugglers and left near the river, given up for dead,” according to Border Report.

A man whose body was recovered from an irrigation canal in Socorro, Texas, is likely the 35th migrant whose remains have been found in Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector since the October 1 beginning of fiscal year 2024.

A Meganálisis poll of Venezuelans living in Venezuela showed that 40 percent would consider migrating if Nicolás Maduro wins another term in what is expected to be an un-free, un-fair election on July 28. Only 16 percent said they were certain that they would not consider leaving their country.

House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-Tennessee) is to introduce legislation that would make it impossible for asylum seekers released into the United States to board commercial aircraft for domestic flights, unless they have the same identity documents that the general traveling public must present. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is sponsoring similar Senate legislation, the Washington Examiner reported.

The measure, which is certain not to become law this year, would increase the number of released asylum seekers present in U.S. border cities, as it would complicate their departures to destination cities in the U.S. interior.

NBC News reported that Border Patrol in March 2023 apprehended, then released, a 48-year-old Afghan asylum seeker who turned out to be on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) watchlist of people suspected of terrorist group affiliations.

Analyses and Feature Stories

A Migration Policy Institute article examined South American countries’ citizens’ migration to the United States, which has risen sharply since the pandemic. It noted that South American immigrants are generally more educated and participate more in the U.S. labor force than other nationalities.

“If we truly hope to ‘secure our border’ and rebuild a safe, orderly and humane immigration system, we need to realize that deterrence isn’t a solution,” wrote Houston Chronicle editorial board member in the third of a three-part series of columns about immigration. “To find solutions, first we need to take control of the narrative.” Lankenau notes the harmful effect of a hefty “Asylum Program Fee” being attached to employers’ applications for foreign-born prospective workers’ visas.

The Central American online outlet Expediente Público looked at a non-governmental study examining why citizens of El Salvador continue to migrate in large numbers despite reduced insecurity and a popular, if authoritarian-trending, president. The reasons remain the same as before Nayib Bukele’s presidency: violence in society and economic need. El Salvador has been the number-four nationality of migrants seeking asylum in Mexico’s system in 2023 and so far in 2024.

On the Right

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