The Washington, DC-based Center for Immigration Studies published May 27, 2016 a report on a national security problem; the illegal trade in forged Central American identities to gain entry to the US, “Palestinians and Syrians Buy Honduran Identities to Make Their Way to the US.” The author, Kasha Luna wrote:
Honduras’ National Registry of Persons (RNP) confirmed that hundreds of Palestinian, Syrian, and citizens of other Arab nations were fraudulently registered as Honduran citizens. As a result, these foreigners can then acquire Honduran passports, which can be used to apply for visas to enter the United States.
La Prensa, a Honduran newspaper, revealed the illicit sales of Honduran identity documents to Palestinian and Syrian citizens. La Prensa’s investigation was anchored on the case of a Palestinian, Kareen Samer Abdulhadi.
In October 2014, Abdulhadi presented himself to the Honduran consulate in Barcelona with official documentation from the RNP and solicited a Honduran passport—arguing his status of “Honduran by birth.” Nevertheless, the language, his marked Arab features, and inconsistent birth data aroused the suspicions of the diplomatic staff about his true nationality and the legitimacy of the documents (including a birth certificate and identification card). Further investigation by consular staff revealed that in 2013 there had been an unauthorized intrusion and alteration in the database of birth registrations of one of the municipal records back in Honduras, which allowed the Palestinian to be documented as Honduran.
According to information accessed by La Prensa, Kareen Samer’s father acquired his own Honduran identity card and birth certificate, and with those documents was able to also register at least eight family members, including his children, wife, and grandchildren.
Subsequent investigations established that Abdulhadi’s case is only the tip of the iceberg of an organized crime network with international ties to smugglers and RNP officials, who were able to illegally register at least one hundred Palestinians and Syrians with fraudulent documentation. The smuggling network operates by falsifying birth certificates on Hondurans who have not gotten their identity card or people now deceased. Additionally, information obtained by La Prensa showed that the network operated from inland municipal registries where there is not much registration activity there. The network established their internal contacts and brought data from their foreign customers to process documentation (identity cards and birth certificates) that would allow them to obtain a Honduran document and then a United States visa. An official source who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “I understand that it is a network that operates from outside Honduras and that referred clients to certain parts of the country, they have people who know and have access to the system, as employees of the Registry have an assigned username to be able to modify part of the database.”
As a result of the Abdulhadi case, according to an official source contacted by La Prensa, Honduras is collaborating with Interpol and the U.S. Embassy has been informed.
Furthermore, an anonymous source that spoke to La Prensa said that many of the Palestinians and Syrians that were registered as Honduran citizens went to the U.S. embassy to apply for a tourist visa, but were detected by internal controls. The newspaper contacted the U.S. embassy regarding this matter, but it declined to confirm or deny the information. I also called the embassy this week and the operator who answered hung up when I asked about the matter.
The vulnerability of the RNP and document breaches, as described above, raise various security concerns for the United States. The following questions must be raised: for every Abdulhadi that is denied a Honduran passport, how many are granted one? For those who fraudulently attain a Honduran passport, how many successfully acquire a US visa? A document breach, such as the one in the Honduran RNP, presents yet another obstacle to the United States’ ability to properly vet individuals.
The January 2016, New English Review published an interview that Mike Bates of Northwest Florida Talk Radio 1330amWEBY did with Christopher Farrell of Judicial Watch. See: “Watchdog on Washington Corruption. “ Yours truly wrote an introduction. One of the exchanges with Farrell dealt with Middle East terrorists purchasing Mexican passports and going through a language and cultural training program to transform them from “Mohammed to Manuel”:
Bates: Our borders, particularly the Southern border, have been very porous, long before the Obama Administration. However there has been news that it is not just illegal migrants seeking economic opportunity in America that they can’t find in Mexico. Is there a concern now that some of these migrants are actually not Mexican or Latin American at all? And, in fact they might possibly be Islamic terrorists?
Farrell: It is not a concern, it’s a fact. The illustration of this is the case of Tampico, Mexico, a large commercial port on the Gulf of Mexico with a huge amount of freighter traffic and commercial shipping. On those vessels arrive persons from the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, many of them are Islamists. They arrive in the Port of Tampico for $1,500 a head. Mohammad becomes Manuel. $1,500 later that person has authentic, legitimate Mexican identity papers, birth certificates, and drivers’ licenses. This would be all of the documentation they would need to establish their identity and take on a new life in Mexico. They are then moved through a series of camps. We know locations of three camps. We have heard from various sources that there are upwards of seven camps in the interior of Mexico where these folks receive language training, clothing, cultural history and mannerisms to help them integrate and appear Mexican. To live, breathe, walk, talk, and act as though they are natives of Mexico. From there they move north to our Southern border and into the United States. The example I use is one raindrop in an ocean of humanity washing up on our Southern shore. However, what is concerning is that this happens with some regularity and frequency. It is organized, deliberate and poses an enormous security threat to our country.
Bates: Does the Administration know this is happening? Clearly if Judicial Watch knows the Administration must know.
Farrell: Absolutely. Yes, they do.
Bates: So, are we doing anything about it?
Farrell: Not to my knowledge, there may be other efforts that we are simply not privy to. However, they are keenly aware that this is going on. We think they have their fingers crossed and hope that they are able to interdict one or two. However, it is a large, organized deliberate operation facilitated by the drug cartels. Realize these drug cartels are running an $18-20 billion dollar business annually across our border. Is the government aware of that? Well, certainly. Are they doing anything to stop it? Virtually nothing. We have the DEA publicly endeavoring to stop drug trade and use in the United States. However, the infiltration of Islamic terrorists disguised as Mexican nationals is happening.
Whether it is the Honduran National Registry example cited by Ms. Luna of the Center for Immigration Studies or the Mexican example cited by Chris Farrell of Judicial Watch, hundreds of the Middle East refugees and possible Islamic terrorists appear to be buying false identities to transform themselves from ‘Mohammed to Manuel’ enabling them to enter the US. The problem is one of international proportions posing major risks to our national security. As noted by Farrell of Judicial Watch, while the US Department of Homeland Security may know about this, it has apparently done little to stop the trade. Just another means by which Islamic terrorists can infiltrate this country. Congressional Homeland Security Committees need to shed a light on this to stop the potentially dangerous illegal identities trade before a possible CBRN attack occurs here.