Diplomat says Panama 'sounded the alarm' on Haitian migrants, adding more are on the way to US

Diplomat says Panama 'sounded the alarm' on Haitian migrants, adding more are on the way to US
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Panama foreign minister Erika Mouynes said she "sounded the alarm when we should have" regarding the Haitian migrants that recently made their way to Del Rio, Texas, adding that even more migrants were on their way. 

Mouynes told Axios she spent months warning officials of the expected migrants and expressed disappointment that the Biden administration was not better prepared for the Haitian migrant crisis along the border.

About 20,000 to 25,000 Haitian migrants have already traveled to the border, and most of them were permitted to enter the U.S. But Mouynes estimated that as many as 60,000 more migrants are likely continuing their northbound journey, Axios said. 

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"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 told Axios.

Mouynes met with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasJohns Hopkins to launch degree program in cybersecurity and policy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - New front in mandate wars; debt bill heads to Biden DHS to end workplace raids, shift focus to employers over undocumented workers MORE and members of Congress earlier this week. 

"Let's recognize that they all are heading toward the U.S.," Mouynes said to Axios while calling on the U.S. to assist with strategies to address the crisis.

"We all have a role to play in this issue, and the regional approach is the correct approach," Mouynes added of the need for collective action. "It is impossible for Panama to solve it on its own."

Nearly 27,000 migrants are expected to pass through the jungles of the Darién Gap this month, which is more than the entire year of 2019, per estimates from the Panamanian government given to Axios.   

On a Sunday appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Mayorkas said that the U.S. was capable of handling crises like what happened in Del Rio while noting that "we are working in a completely broken system." 

"We have an incredible ability to deploy resources to meet the challenges that we face. And we actually have evidence that, quite powerfully, in Del Rio, Texas, in less than a week, we addressed a population of 15,000 there and now there are none," Mayorkas said Sunday.

The Hill has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment.