The Biden administration was warned about a surge of Haitian migrants heading for the southern border, according to Panama’s foreign minister.
In an interview with Axios, Erika Mouynes said “we sounded the alarm when we should have.”
“We’ve engaged with every single authority that we can think of, that we can come across, to say, ‘Please, let’s pay attention to this,'” Mouynes said.
She also said the mass of more than 15,000 Haitians who camped out under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, early this month is nothing compared to what is coming.
Mouynes estimated another 60,000 Haitian migrants are on their way north from Panama, with about 27,000 expected to cross a section of the country known as the Darien Gap this month. That’s higher than the total number from 2019, she said.
“Let’s recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S.,” she said, calling for action after meetings with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and members of Congress.
Mouynes called it “shocking” that the first meeting of officials from South American countries, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. to discuss illegal immigration was not held until August.
“We all have a role to play in this issue, and the regional approach is the correct approach,” Mouynes said. “It is impossible for Panama to solve it on its own.”
Panama is not alone in dealing with Haitians making the trek to the U.S., according to the Miami Herald.
“They enter Guyana and they do not remain here. Very few leave through the channels they came. These people are being smuggled,” Anil Nandlall, Guyana’s attorney general, said in June.
With the need for action growing, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued an open letter last week criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris, who was tasked with addressing the root causes of the border crisis.
“Since her appointment six months ago by President Biden to lead efforts to ‘stem migration’ at the southern border the situation has actually only spiraled further out of control. The humanitarian situation continues to be dire, our border communities overwhelmed, and border patrol agents are being asked to do the impossible,” McCarthy wrote.
He noted that on Sept. 19, “as Customs and Border Patrol agents at the Del Rio sector were being overwhelmed by the massive influx of immigrants arriving — Vice President Harris was conducting the coin flip prior to kickoff at a college football game.”
Over 1.2 MILLION illegal aliens have already crossed the border since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took office.
It’s a disaster. It’s a public health catastrophe. It’s a national security catastrophe. It’s a humanitarian catastrophe. pic.twitter.com/LNWTLfamwM
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 30, 2021
“As ‘Border Czar’, Kamala Harris has done nothing to help stop the border crisis,” McCarthy continued.
“She has let down the local leaders and our Border Patrol agents who have been forced to deal with the fallout of this administration’s bad policies. Even after months of being named to this position, this administration still has no clear plan to address the situation. Her lack of leadership has failed the American people.”
That lack of leadership is making leaders of Val Verde County, Texas, desperate enough to sue the federal government over its immigration policies, according to the New York Post.
County Commissioner Beau Nettleton said he was “sick and tired” of the ongoing border crisis.
“We’ve talked about immigration reform for as long as I can remember. Both parties have had control of Washington at one point or another over the last 20 years, and we have failed to do anything about it other than create the mess that we have today,” Nettleton said.
“It is a complete failure of everything that is going on in Washington for not just the last couple of years, but for many, many years,” he added. “I am for people coming into this country legally. This is not a legal process. This is not the way to do it.”
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