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Panama announces new measures to curb record migration through Darien Gap

Panama boosts security in Darien Gap to confront human traffickers

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) -Panama announced on Friday new measure to curb rising migrant crossings through the Darien Gap jungle region linking the country with Colombia, which reached an all time high this year.

Authorities will increase deportations of people with criminal records and slash the number of days some tourists are allowed to stay from 90 to 15 days, immigration officials said in a press conference.

Deportation flights for irregular migrants with criminal records are set to double with the help of the country's security ministry, Panama's immigration institute chief Samira Gozaine said.

Official data shows some 352,000 people have crossed the dangerous stretch this year by Sept. 8, already surpassing the record high of nearly 250,000 seen for all of 2022.

Panama will also increase financial thresholds at its checkpoints, requiring people expecting to stay 90 days to show proof of funds of at least $1,000, rather than the $500 it previously expected.

The United Nations expects crossings through the jungle to surpass 400,000 this year.

(Reporting by Elida Moreno: Editing by Sarah Morland)