(CNN Spanish) — Migration in the Americas reaches new records amid deteriorating conditions in Latin America.
On the one hand, a record number of migrants arrive at the southern border of the United States and, at the same time, an increasing number of migrants cross the Darién Region in search of safety and stability in the north.
The US announcement of investing almost US$2 billion to address the problem of migration in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) coincides with the absence of the presidents of those countries at the Summit of the Americas that takes place in Los Angeles. Is it possible that this absence affects the migratory agreements that are sought for the region?
This is a look at the current situation ahead of the Summit of the Americas, where the migration crisis on the continent is expected to be addressed.
New records for the US southern border
In so far this fiscal yearthe (CBP, for its acronym in English) has registered 1,295,900 million encounters between border patrol agents and immigrants, an increase of 75% over the previous year.
Y according to An official with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in March, about 40% of those who cross the southern border now come from countries outside of Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries ( Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).
A migratory example is the new exodus of Cuban citizens who have reached the border between the United States and Mexico. According to CBP, almost 80,000 Cubans arrived at the US border from Mexico between October and March.
The surge in migration comes at a time when the Cuban government began easing travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
And while Cuba relaxed restrictions in November, Nicaragua, an ally of the Cuban government, eliminated the visa requirement for Cubans, prompting a wave of people who tried to travel to the Central American nation as a way to finally reach the United States.
Sources note that DHS is now operating under the premise that numbers at the border will remain high, even with COVID-19 restrictions remaining in place. Now, the number of border crossings typically increases in the spring, but the current pace of record highs highlights the continued urgency at the US-Mexico border.
For their part, officials are rushing to strike deals with countries in the region to stem the flow of people traveling to the US southern border.
The department is also working in a similar way with Mexico to mitigate trafficking along key areas on the US southern border, with patrols, checkpoints and pursuit of smugglers, an agency official said.
The constant crisis in Venezuela
The pilgrimage of Venezuelan migrants through Colombia —many of them on foot— to other countries on the continent (such as Peru, Ecuador and Chile) and the arrival of many others to more distant places such as the United States and Spain is a common picture.
In total, as of May 2022, there were 5.08 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean and 6.13 million worldwide, according to R4V figuresthe Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (established by the UN and the IOM), numbers that the UNHCR uses in its reports.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), more and more people are traveling through the Darién Region, a jungle that separates Colombia and Panama, which, according to Unicefis one of the most dangerous places for migrants seeking to reach North America.
According to Unicef, this route is used by migrants of more than 50 nationalities —with a majority Venezuelan— on their way to the United States. The UNHCR indicates that the total number of people who have crossed the Darién Region this year has almost tripled compared to the same period the previous year.
From 2,928 people in the first two months of 2021 to 8,456 in the same period in 2022. This year’s figure includes 1,367 children and adolescents, according to the UN agency.
For their part, the number of Venezuelans who crossed the jungle in the first two months of 2022 was approximately 2,500 people, almost the total number of people who crossed in 2021 (2,819 people), according to the UNHCR.
Patrick Oppmann, CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez contributed to this report.