Readability

Syrians with fake passports

Fol­low­ing ISIS’s mas­sacre of 129 peo­ple last Fri­day in Paris, where at least six of the Paris attack­ers report­edly had gone to Syria for train­ing, Syria has been pop­ping up on my news feed.

What is so unusual about this?

My news feed per­tains Latin Amer­ica.

The first one was about two fam­i­lies that sim­ply turned them­selves in at the bor­der: Syr­i­ans Detained Try­ing to Cross Texas Border

Two fam­i­lies — two men, two women and four chil­dren — pre­sented them­selves Tues­day at the port of entry of the South Texas city of Laredo, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity said in a release. The men were taken to a U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment deten­tion cen­ter in Pearsall, and the women and chil­dren to one in Dilley.

Due to pri­vacy issues, no addi­tional infor­ma­tion will be pro­vided at this time.”

And then the sto­ries about the fake pass­ports started com­ing up:

Bre­it­bart Texas can con­firm that a Syr­ian did attempt to enter the U.S. ille­gally through Texas in late Sep­tem­ber. The Syr­ian was caught using a pass­port that belonged to some­one else and U.S. author­i­ties decided against pros­e­cut­ing any­one involved due to “circumstances.”

Another one: Hon­duras arrests five Syr­i­ans headed to US with stolen pass­ports (empha­sis added)

They had trav­eled by air from Syria to Lebanon, then to Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and on to Honduras.

From there they were to make their way to Hon­duras’ sec­ond city of San Pedro Sula with the aim of going over­land through Guatemala, then Mex­ico and on to the United States, [police spokesman, Ani­bal] Baca told AFP.

Allah­pun­dit has some ques­tions on those guys,

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?

Some are women:

As reported by Bre­it­bart Texas, U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion arrested 27-​year-​old Walaa Alre­hawi and her brother-​in-​law 46-​year-​old Moham­mad Ziad Alza­lam last week in the bor­der city of Hidalgo on the charge of mis­us­ing a U.S. passport.

Those charges were later dropped.

Another woman: Syr­ian woman using [fake] Greek pass­port arrested in Costa Rica, after arriv­ing from Argentina.

And, a real big­gie, about which I posted this morn­ing:

Seham Al Salkhadi, a Syr­ian woman allegedly involved with ISIS, spent four months in Ecuador prior to trav­el­ing to Paris, France, via Bogota, Colom­bia, using a stolen Israeli pass­port last July

In the period from May 14, 2014 to July 6, 2015, Al Salkhadi trav­eled from Daraa, Syria, to Tripoli, Lebanon, where she stayed for eight months. She was later spot­ted in Turkey, after which she trav­eled to Ecuador, where she stayed for four months.

She used a stolen pass­port belong­ing to an Israeli man, and, after pay­ing a US$1,300 bribe to a cus­toms agent, departed on July 6 for Stock­holm via Paris. Noti­cias Caracol’s video showed a let­ter from Air France con­firm­ing that Al Salkhadi trav­eled to Paris and did not com­plete the last stage of the trip to Stockholm.

French and Colom­bian author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing her pos­si­ble involve­ment in last Friday’s attack.

Yes­ter­day I asked,

Why bring thou­sands here? Why not do other refugee relief aid over­seas, in areas secured in their coun­try or adja­cent countries?

I’m still wait­ing for an answer.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics, news, and cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

Following ISIS’s massacre of 129 people last Friday in Paris, where at least six of the Paris attackers reportedly had gone to Syria for training, Syria has been popping up on my news feed.

What is so unusual about this?

My news feed pertains Latin America.

The first one was about two families that simply turned themselves in at the border: Syrians Detained Trying to Cross Texas Border

Two families — two men, two women and four children — presented themselves Tuesday at the port of entry of the South Texas city of Laredo, the Department of Homeland Security said in a release. The men were taken to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, and the women and children to one in Dilley.

“Due to privacy issues, no additional information will be provided at this time.”

And then the stories about the fake passports started coming up:

Breitbart Texas can confirm that a Syrian did attempt to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas in late September. The Syrian was caught using a passport that belonged to someone else and U.S. authorities decided against prosecuting anyone involved due to “circumstances.”

Another one: Honduras arrests five Syrians headed to US with stolen passports (emphasis added)

They had traveled by air from Syria to Lebanon, then to Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and on to Honduras.

From there they were to make their way to Honduras’ second city of San Pedro Sula with the aim of going overland through Guatemala, then Mexico and on to the United States, [police spokesman, Anibal] Baca told AFP.

Allahpundit has some questions on those guys,

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?

Some are women:

As reported by Breitbart Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested 27-year-old Walaa Alrehawi and her brother-in-law 46-year-old Mohammad Ziad Alzalam last week in the border city of Hidalgo on the charge of misusing a U.S. passport.

Those charges were later dropped.

Another woman: Syrian woman using [fake] Greek passport arrested in Costa Rica, after arriving from Argentina.

And, a real biggie, about which I posted this morning:

Seham Al Salkhadi, a Syrian woman allegedly involved with ISIS, spent four months in Ecuador prior to traveling to Paris, France, via Bogota, Colombia, using a stolen Israeli passport last July

In the period from May 14, 2014 to July 6, 2015, Al Salkhadi traveled from Daraa, Syria, to Tripoli, Lebanon, where she stayed for eight months. She was later spotted in Turkey, after which she traveled to Ecuador, where she stayed for four months.

She used a stolen passport belonging to an Israeli man, and, after paying a US$1,300 bribe to a customs agent, departed on July 6 for Stockholm via Paris. Noticias Caracol’s video showed a letter from Air France confirming that Al Salkhadi traveled to Paris and did not complete the last stage of the trip to Stockholm.

French and Colombian authorities are investigating her possible involvement in last Friday’s attack.

Yesterday I asked,

Why bring thousands here? Why not do other refugee relief aid overseas, in areas secured in their country or adjacent countries?

I’m still waiting for an answer.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog