Darien Gap

  • In recent weeks, much of the discussion about illegal immigration to the United States has shifted southward to the Darien Gap.

What is Darien Gap?

  • The Darien Gap connects northern Colombia and southern Panama, crossing around 97 kilometres of dense jungle terrain.
  • It is located in the narrowest region of Panama’s Isthmus, which connects North and South America.
  • It has an area of about 41,440 square km.
  • The scenery is defined by lush rainforests, wetlands, rivers, and rocky mountains.
  • It is one of the world’s most biologically diverse locations, with a vast range of plant and animal species, including jaguars, pumas, tapirs, and a variety of birds.

Why is this in the news?

  • Illegal crossings are on the rise. The Panamanian government reported an astounding 133,000 crossings in 2021, with over half a million people expected to pass through the region by 2023.
  • Root Causes: Individuals, including Venezuelans, Haitians, and Afghans, are driven to make the risky voyage due to violence, insecurity, and a lack of legal immigration choices in their home countries.

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