Tegucigalpa – Five Syrians trying to go to the U.S. using stolen Greek passports were detained in Honduras. They were taken into custody on Tuesday when they arrived from Costa Rica. They fixed the passports to replace the photographs.
Interpol had been tracking the group of men that went to Lebanon from Syria, then Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and finally Honduras, where they planned to head to the border with Guatemala to travel to the U.S. Due to an alert emitted by the international security organization on the passports, these men were captured.
Nevertheless, Anibal Baca, a spokesman for Honduras’ police, told Reuters, “they are normal Syrians.” No link was found between these men and the attacks perpetrated last week in Paris. There wasn’t anything suspicious about them, except that they were carrying stolen passports.
Although it’s unlikely that these men could have been able to enter the U.S. with stolen passports, Honduras remains as a common route for migrants to enter the country. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers scan all passports, having information about those that have been stolen.
By using a European passport, citizens are allowed to travel to the U.S. as residents, although they still have to ask permission to travel to the country via the Homeland Security Department’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). This system verifies that the travelers, which don’t require a visa, are welcomed in the U.S.
However, according to Reuters, a series of reports suggest that at least one of the Paris attackers was believed to enter Europe hidden among immigrants registered in Greece, an issue that brings up the question of Europe’s willingness to keep taking in more refugees.
The GOP Party keeps pushing against refugees
Tension has been growing in the U.S., as several dozen governors have stated that they won’t welcome any Syrian refugees -especially from Republicans, including the GOP presidential candidate, and former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush.
The fact that french authorities found a Syrian passport next to the body of one of the eight terrorists killed during the attacks in Paris generates concerns among Republicans. They are putting pressure on the House in order to halt the administration plan to keep receiving refugees fleeing from Syria.
In response to this, President Obama is fighting back these efforts by saying that these words from Republicans are offensive and they need to stop. Speaking from the Philippines, the president stated that Republicans seem scared of “widows and orphans” coming to the U.S.
“I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate,” the president said, according to CBS News.
In this order, the President added that refugees already have to get through rigorous controls and screening for being received. Also, he said that the U.S. won’t make any decisions based on fear and panic.