Press Release

Congressman Cuellar Releases Statement on U.S.-Bound Syrians Detained in Honduras

Men traveling in Honduras may have been headed to the U.S.

Washington, November 19, 2015 | Riley Brands (202-226-0507)

Today Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) made the following statement upon the news that Honduran police on Wednesday detained five Syrian young men believed to be headed to the United States.

“Honduran police stopped and detained five Syrians trying to enter the Central American nation illegally,” Congressman Cuellar said. “According to a spokesman for the Honduran Police Investigation Unit, there is reason to believe these young men were going to try to illegally travel to the United States. While there is no evidence, as of today, that these men have ties to terrorism, this shows the important role our friends south of the border play in keeping our own nation safe.

“This is why, as a member of Congress, and also as a member of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, I have been advocating for increased assistance to our Central American friends. Securing the border doesn’t start on the border – it begins with cooperation and teamwork with our allies to the south in Mexico and in Central America. I thank Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes, Honduras’ ambassador to the U.S., and his government, as well as the Mexican government, for their cooperation in keeping both of our nations safe.

“The devastation and sheer terror that women, children and families are facing in war-ravaged Syria is a world humanitarian crisis that we cannot simply turn our backs to. However, I believe we do need a very tough screening process for any Syrian refugee who wants to come to the United States and that is why today I voted in favor of the American SAFE Act. This bill requires that, in addition to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) screening, the FBI ensure that each individual receives a background investigation before admission to the U.S.”

In addition to the news of the Honduran detentions, DHS also confirmed that it had detained eight Syrians – two men, two women, and four children – who had presented themselves at a port of entry in Laredo on Tuesday. 

Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. Previously, he served as a Texas State Representative and Texas Secretary of State.