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Colombia’s Migration Crisis at El Dorado Airport


El dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia
Bogota’s El Dorado airport receives a growing number of international migrants. Credit: A.P. / Colombia One

The migration crisis at El Dorado Airport in Bogota, Colombia, has escalated, revealing significant challenges in international migration management. Recent policy changes in Colombia have led to an influx of African migrants using the country as a transit point on their journey to the United States. This situation has placed El Dorado Airport at the center of a complex humanitarian and logistical issue.

Colombian Immigration Policy Changes and Their Impact

Colombia’s government, under President Petro, has relaxed transit requirements for African nations, continuing a policy initiated by former President Iván Duque. This decision, influenced by Vice President Francia Márquez’s diplomatic visits to Africa, affects 21 countries. As a result, Colombia has become a pivotal transit route for African migrants. The journey for many begins in their home country, often Guinea, and includes a stop in Istanbul, and then a flight to Bogota via Turkish Airlines. Once in Colombia, their goal is to reach Nicaragua or El Salvador, but financial and logistical barriers often hinder their progress.

Challenges at El Dorado Airport

At El Dorado Airport, the manifestation of the migration crisis is evident. Between 50 and 70 individuals, labeled as ‘non-admitted’, are stranded, waiting for flights back to Turkey. The situation is complicated by the presence of unaccompanied minors and the logistical difficulties in managing the return of these individuals. In response, OPAIN, the airport’s administrator, has expanded facilities to accommodate the increasing number of stranded migrants, equipping the area with essential amenities.

This scenario at El Dorado Airport underscores the complexities faced by Colombia in handling the migration crisis. The influx of migrants, including vulnerable groups like unaccompanied children, poses a challenge for Colombian authorities and highlights the broader issues associated with international migration and transit countries’ responsibilities.

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