Panama has become the key transit point for a great worldwide migration of people hoping to reach the United States or Canada. Migrants from around the globe have converged on the small isthmus that forms the dividing line between North and South America, believing it is their best hope to join the flow northward. But before their journey can continue they must cross the world’s deadliest jungle, face off with murderous bandits, and experience their first encounter with the long arm of the U.S. border protection system. Many will not make it through.
LA PEÑITA, Panama — Tens of thousands of migrants from around the world are making a dangerous journey through Panama – fleeing violence, poverty and prejudice, most trying to reach the U.S. and Canada. For many migrants, Panama is their first encounter with the U.S. immigration system.
PANAMA CITY, Panama – 150,000 Venezuelans have fled to Panama, where they are reshaping the country’s labor force and cultural life.
Desperate migrants from across the globe are increasingly braving Panama’s Darién Gap – considered the most dangerous jungle in the world.
BAJO CHIQUITO, Panama – Panama has been overwhelmed by the increasing numbers of migrants coming through the Darién jungle that separates it from Colombia – an increasing number of them are pregnant women.
LA PEÑITA, PANAMA – An increasing number of migrants from far-flung places in Asia are attempting to get to the United States via a long journey through South and Central America.
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Increasingly, Cuban migrants travel through Panama hoping to reach the United States. While some reach the U.S.-Mexico border, others give up and stay in countries that were not their original destinations.
PHOENIX – Cubans seeking political asylum are increasingly taking a long, dangerous, intercontinental journey.
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Nicaraguans fleeing political and economic conditions in their country are moving south to Panama, against the normal tide of immigration in the hemisphere.
PANAMA CITY – Panama no longer is just for retirees. Young professionals and couples from the U.S., Canada and other countries are increasingly making the move to the small Central American country of 4.3 million residents.
BAJO CHIQUITO, Panama – For the hundreds of migrants in a Panamanian migrant camp, a nearby river provides their drinking water and bathwater – and serves as their toilet – leading to illness.
PANAMA CITY, Panama – The nation of Panama reserves 56 professions for citizens only, leaving otherwise qualified migrants struggling to find legal employment.
LA PEÑITA, Panama – Despite the dangers of the jungle, increasing numbers of Haitian nationals are risking the journey to leave their Caribbean island homeland, which is the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, according to the World Bank.
A photojournalism student writes about her experiences with the people who journeyed through the dangerous Darién Gap in Panama.
Migrants are increasingly paying organized criminal groups to take them through Central America and Mexico and into the U.S. illegally.