The State Department thinks Honduras is fully committed to working with the U.S. to stop thousands of children from trying to sneak across the U.S. border — even though the Honduran president skipped a meeting on that topic with Vice President Joe Biden, and instead watched World Cup soccer.
"I don't think there's a lack of commitment from the Hondurans," the senior official told reporters Tuesday.
Soccer lured Honduras President Hernandez away from a meeting with Biden, but the State Department says Honduras is still committed to working on the problem with the United States. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Biden met with the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador in June, but had to talk with President Juan Orlando Hernandez because Hernandez was in Brazil, watching the World Cup.
Most of the children coming from Central America came from these three countries, and the senior officials said of the three, most are coming from Honduras.
"I think we've all seen that the numbers of Hondurans are, in fact, significantly higher in some cases than the other two countries," he said. "So it's clear that we need to be working especially cooperatively with Honduras."
When asked why Hernandez was not available in June, the official said:
"Well, to the best of my knowledge, he was in Brazil at the time, Honduras have almost never made the World Cup."
But the official seemed to defend Hernandez by noting that Biden's trip was planned at the last minute. "Remember that the Vice President's decision to try and see the leaders was relatively short notice," he said.
The Obama administration has increased its effort to warn the three countries of the dangers of trying to make it to the U.S., and that amnesty will not be waiting at the other side. But Republicans say the administration is not doing nearly enough to discourage illegal immigrants from making the journey.