Migration vs tourism and the floating barrier on the Rio Grande River

Panama’s swampy and wooded Darién Gap is the only missing section (approx. 97 km) of the Pan-American Highway, which leads from Alaska to Argentina. It is also a dangerous part of the journey for thousands of people crossing the Americas to the United States. In 2022, approx. Two hundred fifty thousand migrants were passing Darién Gap. You will learn about their journey in our podcast – a report from the Panamanian jungle. The Darién Gap also attracts tourists – extreme adventure lovers. Tourist packages cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars per person and include medical care, satellite phones, appropriate equipment and a cook.

During the day, tourism and recreation thrive on Arawak Cay in the Bahamas. Still, at night the waters around the island become a gateway for migrants across the Caribbean to Florida and the United States. Last year The Bahamas detained 3,605 migrants, more than in the previous three calendar years combined. Most of the detainees are Haitians. Approx. 700 Bahamian islands, porous borders and proximity to the USA have made it both a destination and a transit point for migrants, even from China, Cameroon or Iraq.

To keep out migrants from Mexico, Texas installed a floating barrier of ball-sized buoys on the Rio Grande River, extending roughly the length of three football fields (305 m). The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal court to order Texas to remove the dam. The water barrier can pose humanitarian and environmental threats along the international border.

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