The US. Customs and Border Protection agency has accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his security detail of illegally crossing the border on foot at a recent trip to the border to protest family separations.
In a letter sent on June 25 by the chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, Aaron Hull, to the New York Police Department commissioner and obtained by the Associated Press, a Border Patrol agent said he came across de Blasio south of the port of entry. The group was taking photos of a holding facility for migrant children, which they said they had been denied entry to. According to the AP:
The agent asked if anyone from Border Patrol or public affairs was there to authorize their presence. A New York Police Department inspector said no, according to the letter, and when the agent asked the group how they arrived, they pointed to Mexico.
According to the agent, de Blasio and his detail had gone into Mexico, then crossed into the U.S. to get a view of the facility. The agent told the group that they had illegally crossed the border and told them to stay where they were while he located a supervisor and took them to an official crossing for an inspection. Instead, the group drove back to Mexico, the letter alleges, violating both U.S. and Mexican immigration laws.
A spokesman for de Blasio denied the accusation and said they had permission to be where they were. “The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry,” the spokesman told the AP on Tuesday. “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 and about 20 other mayors, including Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, traveled to the Texas border near El Paso on June 21, at a time when the protests against the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy were breaking out across the country.