Five Syrians traveling to the United States were detained by Honduran authorities after it was found that they were using stolen Greek passports. No connections to last week’s Paris attacks have been established.
As reported by La Prensa, the Syrians traveling to US arrived in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa late Tuesday. They were going to travel to northern Honduras and reach the United States by land. They would have crossed Guatemala and Mexico to arrive at the southwest border of the US.
Police spokesman Aníbal Baca said the Hondurans were informed about the men’s journey by Greek law enforcement. It was confirmed that none of the detained men spoke Greek. “The passports were stolen (in Greece), those are not their real names, we are confirming their identities,” Baca said. The detainment comes after it was discovered that one of the assailants in the Paris attacks last week had entered Europe through Greece.
U.S. lawmakers have set out plans to make stricter screening processes for Syrian refugees. President Barack Obama, who announced his plans to admit 10,000 Syrian migrants next year, has faced opposition from Republicans.
Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., said the arrests highlighted the difficulty of tracking so many refugees. In a statement, he said, “While the intent of these five men is still unknown, it is yet another warning that we must take the vetting and screening process for Syrian refugees extremely seriously. That is why we must press pause on the refugee resettlement program for Syria and other nations containing known terror cells until we have fully reviewed and reformed our system for vetting refugees, and made substantial progress in combating Islamic State.”
Many migrants travel through Honduras to make their way to the U.S. In 2015, as many as 12,000 foreigners were arrested by border agents, as reported by El Heraldo.