TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – President Manuel Zelaya on Sunday said the United States' move to indefinitely suspend appointments for Hondurans to request U.S. visas was "unjust, rude and arbitrary."
The U.S. business attache to Honduras, James G. Williard, on Saturday confirmed Washington's decision to suspend the visa process in the Central American country, citing a lack of confidence in its migration department.
The U.S. government alleges that applicants can easily obtain Honduran identification documents without providing the necessary proof.
As a result, fake documents are issued that are later used to help illegal migrants enter the United States, causing "a national security problem," the U.S. Embassy in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa said in a statement Sunday.
Zelaya told local radio station HRN that the United States' immigration agency has suffered similar fraud, adding that "we can't punish an entire population that follows the rules because of one or two criminals."
Zelaya also said it was the Honduran government that both uncovered problems in the migration department and promised to correct them.
"I hope to resolve this incident through dialogue," he said. Zelaya added that he would meet with U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Charles A. Ford, who was due to return Tuesday after two weeks in the United States.
Last week, police arrested a pair of Cameroon nationals who allegedly planned to travel to the United States with false Honduran documents obtained from human traffickers.
Criminals also have stolen blank Honduran passports and bribed officials to obtain travel papers, officials have said.
Honduran Foreign Minister Milton Jimenez on Saturday said he would soon put into effect "a series of rigid controls to prevent any foreigner from obtaining Honduran documents to travel to the United States illegally."