The Darién Gap, a undeveloped jungle swampland connecting North and South America at the border of Panama and Colombia, is said to be one of the most dangerous places in the Americas. It’s largely overrun by human smugglers, paramilitary organizations, and drug traffickers, and the U.S State Department advises Americans not to travel to the region.
The region’s criminal reputation didn’t stop CBS News from running a sympathetic profile of some of the human smugglers operating in the area on Saturday. CBS’s portrayal of a ‘coyote’ named Emerson Gonzalez Jimenez was unquestioning of his claims that he was offering a generous service to the migrants who sought passage through the Darien Gap to Panama, usually on the way to the United States.
Colombians, Venezuelans, Haitians and even individuals from Asia or Africa commonly hire the services of the smugglers to navigate through the dangerous region. It’s not uncommon for migrants to die during the often-perilous journey, as the Gap poses a threat on account of its wild nature and the criminals known to operate within it.
A Marxist terrorist organization known as FARC, the Spanish-language synonym for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has extensively operated in the area. FARC has trafficked and sold a great deal of cocaine destined for the United States, in addition to waging a violent insurgency against the government of Colombia.
The crossing of often helpless and penniless migrants through the Darién Gap poses a humanitarian concern. Migrants are largely powerless at the hands of the coyotes guiding them, and can be easily exploited. Female migrants are often raped or forced into prostitution by smugglers.
CBS’s profile of the smuggler presented him as a benevolent individual offering a service, without paying any mention to the abuse of helpless people perpetrated by human smugglers in the Darién Gap and beyond.
Biden DHS Secretary to Illegal Immigrants: “We’re Not Saying ‘Don’t Come,’ We’re Saying ‘Don’t Come Now'”
Did he just endorse illegal immigration?
Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, appeared at Monday’s White House press briefing to give an overview of what he and the DHS are doing to “replace the cruelty” of the Trump administration’s immigration processes and to take questions from reporters.
In response to a reporter’s question about how he was going to rebuild the DHS and reunite families, Mayorkas began by saying that they are “progressing every single day” on building a system to accept “asylum seekers”—read: illegal immigrants—through ports of entry.
“We are progressing every single day. I don’t have a particular timeline, but all I can do is communicate, both to the American public and to the individuals seeking protection, that we are working around the clock seven days a week to make that timeframe as short as possible, but they need to wait. But they need to wait with a particular goal in mind. We are not saying ‘don’t come,’ we are saying ‘don’t come now,’ because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible. There have been, I understand, approximately 105 families reunited in the recent past. That is through the extraordinary efforts of counsel and others in the community. We are joining with counsel, with members of the community to work on this.”
Another reporter asked Mayorkas if he thought there was a crisis at the border, to which he replied: “I think that the answer is no. I think there is a challenge at the border that we are managing, and we have our resources dedicated to managing it.” Despite the reporter’s pushback on his claim, Mayorkas reiterated that his team was working “around the clock” to address the issues confronting the DHS and that the level of illegal immigrants coming across the border constitutes a challenge, not a crisis.
Big League Politics has covered Mayorkas closely since his nomination to DHS secretary by Joe Biden. He previously said he would stop construction of the border wall and that he was unsure what he’d do with the amount of wall already built.
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