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Friday, April 25 2014 @ 03:36 AM EDT

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Panama Will Participate In The Global Entry Program Starting In January

Immigration IssuesThe program Global Entry, through which the immigration transactions of Panamanians in several U.S. airports con will be expedited, will start functioning in Panama on January 2014. Panamanians who want to use this service must pay an inscription of $100 and wait for the evaluation of the Immigration Department of the United States.

Those authorized may enter the U.S. through a faster line than those who are not enrolled in this program.

Panama is the fourth country to receive this benefit, besides South Korea, Mexico and the Netherlands. (Prensa)

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Nicaraguans Are Being Trafficked In Panama

Immigration IssuesEvery week, or every fifteen days, buses from Nicaragua arrive at the 5 de Mayo plazas, in which immigrants from this country arrive to Panama, and become victims of human trafficking networks.

There buses pretend to be dedicated to touristic activities, and instead they traffic the Nicaraguans in the bus who come camouflaged with businessmen. All this happens because the drivers take advantage of the desperation and poverty of the travelers, who come to Panama hoping for better days.

These extremely old buses, of “excursions,” end up their trip near the 5 de Mayo, right when it gets dark. La Prensa was able to film how the passengers arrive to hotels without any formal control, and whenever there are cops they seem to be unaware of the situation.

This is exactly when the true trip of the Nicaraguans start, who are then sexually exploited and also subject to labor exploitation in Panama.

Those dedicated to this have a highly lucrative business.

Authorities from different security agencies have admitted they’ve been following up several cases, saying they are investigating over a dozen of people who say they are “excursionists,” and their activities are moving forward while control in important areas and borders are still inefficient.

It’s a dangerous trip from Managua to Panama, which is strictly planned by human traffickers, using “coyotes” that operate in Chiriqui.

In the border with Paso Canoas, immigrants and officials also sponsor this drama.

There are signs saying “in Panama labor exploitation and servitude is forbidden,” as well as “the retention of documents,” and these are all over the place. But no one is really interested about their luck. Currently, there isn’t even a registry of those who are “missing;” it’s a secret handled by the Nicaraguan only. (Prensa)

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The Bahamas Deported The Cubans That Were Granted Asylum In Panama Back To Their Country

Immigration IssuesThe Cuban Exile Community in Miami (Florida); Democracy Movement, announced the Government of Bahamas deported 24 refugees to Cuba that were arrested in this country, even though many of those had already received approval of asylum in Panama.

"In a deceitful action and with the intention of hiding human torture, the prime minister of Bahamas, Perry Christie, surprisingly repatriated 24 Cubans back to Cuba, many of those had already received a visa to travel to Panama,” said the organization in a press release.

The Democracy Movement accused Christie of “breaking his word with the intention of hiding that these citizens were severely tortured by a group of custodians” from the Center of Detention of Immigrants in Nassau, Bahamas.

Last Sunday, the Panamanian Government granted “territorial asylum” for humanitarian reasons to 19 undocumented immigrants, arrested in the aforementioned prison, after receiving the request from the group.

This announcement was parallel to the commitment from the Government of Bahamas of ending with the abuse to undocumented immigrants who arrive at this nation, most of them from Cuba, and this had already been reported by several exile organizations in Miami.

Two Cuban activists went on a hunger strike as a pressure measure against the authorities from Bahamas; this strike ended on Monday.

These two Cubans were requesting the Bahamian authorities to investigate the events and to punish the officials responsible for abusing the arrested individuals.

One of the activists in the hunger strike was Alexis Gómez, who recorded with a Smartphone the images published a few months ago through the Internet in which an official from this penitentiary center in Bahamas was “kicking one of the prisoners.”

The end of their exile mobilizations and the hunger strike of the two activists, the announcement of Panama of giving asylum to the Cuban arrested refugees in Bahamas and the commitment of the Bahamian authorities of ending with the physical abuse of undocumented immigrants seemed like a happy ending that never happened.

In fact, on Wednesday, the Cuban-American congressman in Florida, Mario Díaz-Balart, had thanked the Panamanian Government for granting asylum to these 19 undocumented Cubans who were arrested in Bahamas, a zone of transit for many undocumented immigrants towards the United States. (Critica)

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Two Nicaraguans Are Retained For Illegally Entering The Country

Immigration IssuesThe State Border Service (SENAFRONT) of Panama retained two Nicaraguans from illegally entering the country through the border with Costa Rica, and is investigating a woman from Nicaragua as well due to not complying with immigration requirements, according to an official source.

One of the subjects is Juan Carlos Graham Forbes, who had no identification documents when he was approached by units from the SENAFRONT in Paso Canoas, 500 kilometers to the west of the city, and the other subject’s name is Denis Joseph Sandoval, according to a statement from the police.

They were both travelling by bus as tourists from Nicaragua without complying with the legal requirements for entering the country (economic solvency, two way ticket), and the immigration stamps “were illegally obtained,” according to SENAFRONT.

The statement details that Zoraida Martinez, Nicaraguan, is under investigation after she said an official from immigration was helping her with the transaction of her exit stamp, violating the immigration requirements.

Also, 12 out of the 37 passengers in a bus coming from Costa Rica were sent back to the border in Paso Canoas after the authorities discovered they were not in the excursion list. Their nationalities are still unknown.

This case was passed on to the competent authorities for its due investigation, according to the information. (Panama America)

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Migration Service Expects To Attend About 10,000 Foreigners

Immigration Issues"In the eleventh migratory regularization process, there are more than ten thousand foreigners waiting to comply with the dictates of the Executive Decree 547 of 25 July 2012," said General Manager of the National Immigration Service, Javier Carrillo.

In the first 96 hours of the process, the module of statistics of the SNM detailed, Colombian citizens, followed by Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, are those who have attended the Roberto Duran Arena to become legal.

Other nationalities also answered the call of the national government for the eleventh time which provides an opportunity for foreigners to obtain immigration status in the country.

Meanwhile Labour Migration Department, Ministry of Work (MITRADEL) reported the number of people served in process so far is more than 600 foreigners which have applied for a valid passport to work for two years.

The regularization process extends until Monday 3 June 2013, and the hours are from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. (Estrella)

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10,000 Foreigners Try To Migrate In Panama

Immigration IssuesAbout 10,000 foreigners in Panama have signed to regularize their immigration status during the eleventh process "Crisol de Razas" organized by the National Immigration Service (SNM) today, an official source said yesterday.

The conference will be held in the Roberto Durán arena, Panama City, until June 3, and involved "all foreign nationals with more than a year of living in the country without immigration status," the SNM warned in a statement.

Outsiders, in order to be served, must have a booked appointment via the Internet, a mechanism established to ease the process, which also requires the intervention of a lawyer.

In Panama there is a "large number of foreigners in irregular migratory status," says the Government, so the mechanism makes it easier to obtain legal residency and a work permit in order to protect their rights and is taxable and listed on the social security system.

Also in this period, the foreigners, which were previously hosted the regularization process and have an expired migratory license, have an opportunity to participate, with the ease to conduct a second renewal for a residence permit for ten years.

According to official data, in the ten previous regulatory processes, which initiated in 2008, 30,513 foreigners have benefited with this.

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Most Of Foreigners in Panama Are Colombian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan

Immigration IssuesDuring the current government, the National Immigration Service (SNM) has made 11 naturalization fairs called “Crisol de Razas (Melting Pot).” In these activities, 25,224 foreigners have naturalized, most of them are Colombians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Dominicans, according to data provided by this institution.

In all these meetings, the state has raised over $30 million. Money, says Javier Carrillo, director of SNM, is destined to the presidency of the Republic and the payment of immigration officials across the country.

Between May 27 and June 3, NMS will conduct the eleventh “Crisol de Razas” fair. For this massive event, 12,000 foreigners have made the requests for legalization. (Panama America)

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Immigration Regularization Event

Immigration IssuesFrom May 27 to June 3, another Immigration Regularization event, this was stated today by the National Immigration Service.

Javier Carrillo, director of Immigration, said they will be giving a temporary residence card for two years to foreigners who have a year of being in the country and foreigners who want to regularize their situation for the second time will have their residence renewed for ten provisional years.

Work permits will be granted for two years. Those with a residence card valid for ten years will have to renew their work permits every two years. (Mi Diario)

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Immigration Does Not Know What To Do With Somalis

Immigration Issues70 citizens of Somalia and Bangladesh are being held in the jail of the National Immigration Service, but so far, the Panamanian authorities are not able to determine what to do with them.

The Director of Immigration, Javier Carrillo, expressed his concern about the issue because these people arrived at the country with no passport and they are not certain about what their names are.

Carrillo admitted they do not know what to do with these undocumented immigrants, because Panama does not have embassies or consulates in Somalia and Bangladesh, so there is no way to issue safe-conduct passes for them.

Despite the efforts, the Panamanian authorities fail to prevent human trafficking. In the case of extra-continental foreigners (Somalia, Bangladesh, among other countries) arrive in Colombia and from there they illegally enter Panama. (TVN)

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National Assembly Passed Law 583 Creating New Passport Authority Of Panama

Immigration IssuesToday the National Assembly approved Law 583 creating the new Passport Authority of Panama, with 36 votes in favor.

The Law also received six votes against it and one abstention.

Earlier the Interior Minister, Jorge Ricardo Fábrega appeared before the Committee to explain to Members, the need to create a Passport Authority.

The National Director of Passports, Carmen Bernardez, also supported the explanation of the minister and agreed with the importance of its creation. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: The administration of Ricardo Martinelli is creating several of these new "authorities" and then naming their directors, people who will be in position for the next seven years, as a ploy to keep at least some of his people of confidence in place no matter what happens in the 2014 general elections.

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