Syrians and Palestinians managed to buy illegal citizenship documents from Honduras then tried to use them to enter the U.S., a Honduran newspaper reported over the weekend, exposing a scheme that analysts say could post a danger to the U.S. visa system.
La Prensa uncovered a criminal network that paid Honduran officials to illegally register foreigners as legal residents, which gave them access to documents that could then be used to gain broader access to the western hemisphere.
The La Prensa report was highlighted Friday by the Center for Immigration Studies, which said the network appeared to be a favorite for those of Arab origin — particularly Syrians and Palestinians — who were looking for a way to enter the U.S.
The criminal network managed to get names registered in Honduras’s national registration of persons (RNP). That meant they could obtain passports and official birth certificates, on RNP paper and stamped by the agency director, that they could then take to the U.S. embassy to try to earn a visitor’s visa, the report said.