When eight Syrians handed themselves in to immigration authorities on the Texas-Mexico border last week, the incident was held up by conservative politicians as a troubling reflection of the new threats facing the US after the Paris terror attacks.

Similarly, news that five Syrian men had been detained in Honduras with false Greek passports was presented as a novel – and potentially sinister – development.

But both groups are most likely part of a steady stream of migrants from around the world, who have in recent years quietly started to follow the well-trodden routes used by Latin Americans to reach the United States.

As well as Syrians, migrants from Nepal, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Pakistan now regularly make the long detour through Latin America, joining the flood of Central American migrants seeking refuge from violence.

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