The Associated Press obtained a letter Wednesday from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection alleging that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexican border last month.
The letter claims that de Blasio and his security detail violated immigration laws by crossing the El Paso, Texas, border on foot.
On June 21, a group of 20 mayors, including de Blasio, traveled to the Texas border, only a day after President Trump’s executive order to end the zero-tolerance policy.
De Blasio reportedly went to visit a children’s holding facility but was turned away. Afterward, he crossed the border into Mexico to get a better view of the facility from the outside.
The letter, however, claims that a border patrol agent saw a large group along the Rio Grande River taking pictures of a holding facility in Tornillo, Texas, alleging that the group had crossed the border illegally because they had entered through Mexico. The letter also claims that the border patrol agent informed the group that they had crossed the border illegally and “took them to an official crossing for an inspection per federal law,” but they ignored the order and went back to Mexico.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Eric Phillips, quickly informed the Associated Press that “The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry.
“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.”
Mayor de Blasio has previously voiced his frustration with the Trump administration’s immigration policies, mostly recently calling on the federal government to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Only last month, immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the border were moved to a foster care organization in New York City at nearly one in the morning. At the time, de Blasio held a press conference to confirm this, stating, “Last night a group of children was being shuttled in the dead of night into an intake facility in East Harlem.”
After visiting the foster care center himself, the New York City mayor reported that many of the children there had lice or chicken pox and that the youngest child among them was only 9-months-old. Shortly after his visit, de Blasio called on the federal government to put an end to this.
“Stop this right now. Stop this broken, inhumane policy right now.”