Panama’s Foreign Minister was in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss migration and security issues with U.S. federal officials.
She then went on to tell American news outlets there’s a new wave of 60,000 citizens of Haiti and other countries making their way to the U.S. border.
“We have seen the growing phenomenon of irregular migration and have gained the attention of key actors,” Erika Mouynes said in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry after her meetings with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Special Envoy to Northern Triangle countries Ricardo Zuniga and others.
Mouynes told reporters more than 85,000 migrants headed north have passed through Panama since Jan. 1. With some 20,000 having already crossed into the U.S. at Del Rio, Texas, and other places, she said the rest are likely on the way.
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said Mouynes also met with him and said her country has seen a huge spike in migrants passing through, from 800 a month to 20,000 a month recently. He says she told him some individuals with ties to Al-Qaeda intent on traveling to the United States were apprehended in Panama.