New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and his NYPD security detail violated U.S. and Mexican immigration law when they walked across the border near El Paso, Texas during a visit last month, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol alleges in a letter obtained by the Associated Press.
De Blasio visited the Texas border on June 21 along with 20 other mayors concerned about the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration-enforcement policy and its implications for the separation of immigrant families.
According to the letter, dated June 25, de Blasio and his security detail were denied entry to an immigrant-holding facility in Texas. They then went to Mexico before crossing back into the U.S. to gain a better vantage point on the facility.
A Border Patrol agent spotted the group south of the Tornillo, Texas, port of entry, photographing the holding facility. After learning that they were not given permission to cross back into the U.S. on foot, the agent asked the group to stay where they were while he retrieved a supervisor. The group ignored his order and drove back to Mexico, according to the letter.
De Blasio’s office denied violating immigration law during the visit.
“The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry,” de Blasio’s spokesman Eric Phillips said in an email Tuesday night to the AP. “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.”