No reason to believe they’re terrorists, authorities are quick to note, as it’s not just terrorists who sometimes steal a passport to get where they’re going. Fair enough, but if this is simple illegal immigration in search of economic opportunity, why make a long journey through Turkey, South America, and Central America to the United States instead of taking advantage of Merkel’s open-borders policy and heading for Germanistan? Also, where’d they get the passports? And why steal them? Is it a simple matter of genuine passports being hard to come by amid the collapse of Syria’s civil state or is there another reason?
Another interesting question: How were these not-at-all suspicious travelers from a terrorist hotbed hoping to enter the United States? Reuters provides a clue:
The Syrian men were held late on Tuesday in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, on arrival from Costa Rica, and had been planning to head to the border with neighboring Guatemala. The passports had been doctored to replace the photographs with those of the Syrians, police said.
“We received information from (fellow) police services that these five Syrians left Greece and passed through Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and San Jose in Costa Rica before finally reaching Tegucigalpa,” said Anibal Baca, spokesman for Honduras’ police. “They are normal Syrians.”
The BBC is more definitive:
According to Honduran police, they were planning to travel to the northern city of San Pedro Sula. From there, they intended to cross into Guatemala and then Mexico before reaching the US border, some 2,000km (1,2000 miles) away.
I hope O’s on the phone today thanking the president of Honduras for their good detective work, as five Syrians getting picked up inside the U.S. with bogus passports after crossing the Mexican border weeks after a major ISIS terror attack in the west is pretty much the platonic ideal of a political clusterfark for Democrats. (And that assumes the best-case scenario, that these five had no sinister intentions upon arriving.) Even though they’re not refugees, a security lapse that glaring probably would have generated enough heat to force Obama to suspend the refugee program temporarily for security “improvements” or whatever as a consequence. As it is, it’ll take a bit longer before that inevitably happens anyway:
Most Americans want the U.S. to stop letting in Syrian refugees amid fears of terrorist infiltrations after the Paris attacks, siding with Republican presidential candidates, governors, and lawmakers who want to freeze the Obama administration’s resettlement program…
Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey, conducted in the days immediately following the attacks, say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Just 28 percent would keep the program with the screening process as it now exists, while 11 percent said they would favor a limited program to accept only Syrian Christians while excluding Muslims, a proposal Obama has dismissed as “shameful” and un-American.
Note that that 53 percent didn’t say yes to suspending the Syrian refugee resettlement program temporarily; they said yes to suspending it, period. Obama won’t allow that after spending so much time this week wagging his finger at critics over how un-American they are but he will, surely, “pause” the program at some point soon to placate Democrats who are taking heat over it. (It’ll be quietly reinstated later when the public has moved on to something else.) The only question now, as Sean Davis said earlier, is how much of a beating Obama will let his party take before changing course. I think that’s why Chuck Schumer surprised everyone yesterday by calling for a pause in the program himself, as the media was lambasting Republicans for hating Muslims, being cruel to orphans, etc. Schumer knows Obama will fold eventually. Why go out on a limb defending him when he’s only going to end up sawing that limb off?
The dark punchline here, which ties the Honduras story and the refugee backlash up in a bow, is that Democrats do have a decent argument available to them against freaking out about refugees that they dare not ever use. The argument is this: Why would any jihadi waste time trying to enter the U.S. as a refugee when he could either make a run for the border via Mexico or enter Europe through Merkel’s open-borders policy and fly to America from there? The U.S. refugee process can take two years or more; illegal entry, thanks to the tireless efforts of the left and their friends in the Republicans business lobby, is much more efficient. I’ll be looking out for that logic at Obama’s next press conference/national scolding. Via Newsbusters, here’s Margaret Carlson wondering if maybe terrorists who sneak into the country won’t learn to love America ‘n stuff before they blow things up.