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Twenty-Fold Surge in Migrants Seeking the U.S. Alarms Panama

  • Thousands of exhausted people emerge from Panamanian jungle
  • Migration is one of the biggest political challenges for Biden
Migrants wait to board boats to travel to Capurgana, in Necocli, Colombia, on July 30.
Migrants wait to board boats to travel to Capurgana, in Necocli, Colombia, on July 30.Photographer: Carlos Bernate/Bloomberg

The number of migrants trekking through one of the world’s most dangerous jungles to reach the U.S. has surged nearly 20-fold since the start of the year, overwhelming towns along the route and threatening to aggravate the crisis at the U.S. southern border.

More than 19,000 migrants walked to Panama from Colombia last month, compared to 1,007 in January, according to Panama’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. They came from more than 30 different countries, from Bangladesh to Sierra Leone, but Haitians and Cubans were the most numerous.