Trial in New York against former president Juan Orlando Hernández highlights the role of corruption in Honduras as a cause of forced migration

March 7, 2024
Yanci Nuñez | [email protected] (312) 866-0312




The Biden administration’s foreign policies should take steps to provide immigration protection for Hondurans living in the U.S.



Chicago — The criminal trial of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in the Southern District of New York exposes the U.S. public to the reality that people in Honduras have to endure. This reality is defined by endemic corruption at the highest levels of government that have profound socio-economic impacts, especially among the most impoverished population and human rights defenders, many of whom have been forced to flee the country over the past 20 years.


Juan Orlando Hernández coordinated a criminal network that infiltrated all spheres of the state, using his position to facilitate drug trafficking and other illicit activities, during his eight years as president of the country, according to the indictment against him. This corruption and the continuing climate of impunity perpetuate violence and instability in Honduras, which has a direct impact on the human rights of the population. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize that this case is not simply about a former official accused of crimes, but about a corrupt institutional system that must be dismantled and reformed.


In Honduras, violence, impunity and corruption are closely intertwined, which constitutes the greatest challenge for current President Xiomara Castro. Sectors of Honduran civil society and the international community are closely watching the steps towards the implementation of an International Commission against Impunity in Honduras (CICIH is the acronym in Spanish), in order to strengthen the Honduran judicial system and provide it with the necessary tools to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the administration of justice.


Honduras needs all the support necessary to strengthen its challenging economic, social, and political situation. Among the measures that could be decisive for the country is the extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to protect Hondurans living in the United States. The extension of TPS is vital to provide protection to thousands of Hondurans who, if deported, will face extremely difficult conditions, especially violence, poverty and lack of opportunity, which are deepened by corruption and impunity, as evidenced by the criminal proceedings against former President Hernandez.


TPS has improved the lives of more than 76,000 Hondurans who have lived with this protection in the U.S. since 1999. Extending the same protection to those who lack it is a concrete and effective foreign policy measure on the part of the United States. It would also send a clear message of U.S. solidarity and support for the Honduran people in their struggle for justice and democracy.




Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.

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