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Tens of thousands of migrants continue to press through dangerous jungle with hopes of reaching U.S. border

The U.S. is part of a multinational effort to stop the flow of American-bound migrants through the deadly Darién Gap bordering Colombia and Panama. So far, it’s not working.

By Robert Moore, El Paso Matters
Migrants walk from a canoe that brought them to a Panamanian reception center in the village of Lajas Blancas on June 20.

A Venezuelan family who came through the Darién Gap with a 2-year-old child on June 20 saw a number of fellow migrants drown during the journey.
Inline article image

More than 166,000 crossed the jungle in the first five months of 2023 

Haitian migrants carry their belongings, including humanitarian kits provided by relief works, after arriving at the Panamanian reception center in Lajas Blancas.
A teenager passes time while waiting for a bus to take him from the Lajas Blancas migrant reception center on June 20.
A girl enjoyed a frozen treat during a sweltering day on June 20 at the Lajas Blancas migrant reception center on the edge of the Darién jungle.
A woman pleads for help after realizing that she left her money in the canoe that brought her to Panama’s migrant reception center in Lajas Blancas on June 20.
A man shows insect bites he suffered during several days in the Darién jungle.

A day in the Darién jungle

Many migrants rely on money sent from family to a Western Union station at the Lajas Blancas reception facility to be able to continue their journey.
A Venezuelan man says his children have become ill during an extended stay at Panama’s Lajas Blancas migrant reception center following their journey through the Darién Gap.
Migrants wait to check in with Panamanian officials after arriving at a reception center in Lajas Blancas on June 20. So far in 2023, about 20% of migrants crossing the Darién Gap have been children, half of them age 5 or younger.

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