Within the framework of the COVID-19 emergency, since March 19, 2020, the Government of Costa Rica has kept its land border with Panama closed, and the Controlled Flow Binational Operation, agreed between the governments of Costa Rica and Panama at the Paso Canoas border to ensure an orderly and safe migration of migrants moving through the Americas,3 was stoped. As of the date of this report, there is no approximate date for its reimplementation.
Given the presence of this irregular migration flow, since August 24, 2021, IOM Panama has published information on the irregular migration flow in Darien, Panama4 under the context of COVID-19. Based on this information, it has been identified that during 2021 the flow of people in a situation of mobility through the Americas with destination to North America is on the rise: according to SNM data, in the period between August and November 2021, the irregular entry of 126,675 migrants has been registered at the border between Colombia and Panama, mainly from the following nationalities: Haiti (62%), Cuba (13%), Chile (8%), Brazil (7%), Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (2%), among other countries in South America, Africa and Asia.
In Costa Rica, an increase has been identified in the number of migrants who decide to stay in the country, mainly people from Haiti, who, in some cases, have requested refuge in the country before the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME). According to data from the DGME, between May and November 2021, 9,699 rejections5 were registered in Paso Canoas.