Contributed by: AnonymousThe new Director of the Immigration office has yet to be named, but his (or her) first priority should be to improve the international image of the institution. We've been talking to the circle of lawyers who have been working with immigration issue and the immigration office for many years, and over many administrations. One lawyer we spoke to has more than 20 years working almostly exclusively in immigration since the mid 1980's. According to that one lawyer, the guy who was recently fired was "the worst I've ever seen."
Sorry, but in this case we can't name sources or provide quotes. These lawyers are still working with immigration on behalf of their clients, and they still have to deal with these people. So, not one of them would go "on the record" or let us quote them. They know that if they start slinging mud around, their ability to get anything done would dry up overnight.
But that having been said, there was one overriding theme - that under the prior administration things were bad, but under the guy who just got booted, things were a lot worse. The word used to describe them was "hungry." Like, when they took over they immediately began to squeeze money out of the immigrants through organized graft and corruption.
They all said that under the Moscoso administration, sure, there were people taking money here and there, but it was not as blatant and abusive as it is now.
Also, there was a lot of conflict between the director (who was from the PPD political party) and the deputy (who was PRD.) Apparently, things were screwed up from day one.
Hopefully, the new director (when appointed) will make it a priority to clean house and root out the corruption. All new arrivals have to hit the immigration office early in their Panamanian experience, and many start off with a bad taste in their mouth. Cleaning up immigration should be a priority, and it should be done in a public and highly visible way.
If you want the world to think you're doing something about corrpution and you want to clean up your image, maybe the front door would be a good place to start...