Two Syrian families turn themselves in at Texas border town
Members of two Syrian families had turned themselves in to U.S. authorities in Laredo, Texas, at the Mexican border, and were being processed by immigration officials, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Thursday.
Two men, two women and four children who “presented themselves” Tuesday at the port of entry were taken into custody by Border Patrol agents and then turned over for immigration processing, DHS said in a statement.
“Due to privacy issues, no additional information will be provided at this time,” DHS said in a statement.
Still, there was no evidence the Syrians had any connection to terrorism, U.S. government officials said on condition of anonymity.
The women and children were taken to the South Texas Family Residential Center in the city of Dilley, DHS said, while the two men were held at the South Texas Detention Center in the city of Pearsall.
There was no indication the two Syrian families were trying to sneak into the country.
Anxiety over Syrian refugees seeking to enter the United States has intensified since the deadly Paris bombings last week claimed by Islamic State militants. There have been concerns one of the attackers may have arrived in Europe from Syria using a faked Syrian passport.
Tens of thousands of Syrians, fleeing more than four years of civil war, have flocked to the West, but the presence of the Islamic State militant group in their country has jeopardized the refugees’ prospects of settling elsewhere.
Separately, Honduran authorities said on Wednesday they had intercepted six Syrians traveling with doctored Greek passports over the past week, including five who were trying to reach the United States. Police there said there were no signs of extremist links. The original photos on the passports were said to have been replaced with those of the Syrians.
Syrians were also detained over the weekend in the former Dutch Caribbean colony of St Maarten and in Paraguay.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Susan Heavey and Bernadette Baum)