New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexican border late last month, according to a letter by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol official.
The Associated Press reported that the incident occurred on June 21 while De Blasio was seeking to enter a holding facility near El Paso, Texas, for children of parents who have been detained for entering the country illegally.
After the mayor was denied access, he went to Mexico and crossed into the U.S. at an unauthorized entry point to get a better view of the facility.
His actions violated the immigration laws of the United States and Mexico, the AP reported.
Aaron Hull, the chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, sent a letter to New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill on June 25 relating that a uniformed Border Patrol agent approached the mayor’s group, which included members of his NYPD security detail, as they stood in the Rio Grande flood plain south of Tornillo, Texas.
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The mayor’s entourage was taking pictures of the holding facility.
Federal agents asked De Blasio’s party if anyone from the Border Patrol or the public affairs office authorized their presence.
According to the letter, an NYPD inspector who was part of the security detail replied they had not received authorization.
The agent informed the group that they had crossed into the U.S. illegally and instructed them to remain in place while he got his supervisor to come to their location.
De Blasio’s group disregarded the order, walking back to their vehicles and driving back into Mexico.
About three hours later, they showed up at an authorized port of entry at Tornillo.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the United States Border Patrol take violations of law very seriously,” the letter to O’Neill said.
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De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips denied the group did anything illegal.
“The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry,” Phillips said in an email to the AP.
He continued: “Any suggestion otherwise is a flat-out lie and an obvious attempt by someone to attack the Mayor because of his advocacy for families being ripped apart at the border by the Trump Administration.”
De Blasio has been an outspoken critic of President Trump, including on the issue of illegal immigration.
The New York Democrat is considered a likely contender for the presidency in 2020.
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