New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio illegally crossed the US-Mexico border during his visit to the region last month, according to US Customs and Border Protection.
The federal agency sent New York City police commissioner James O’Neil a letter detailing the mayor’s alleged violation of federal and Mexican law, according to Fox News. A border patrol agent reportedly told Mr de Blasio and his security detail they had crossed illegally, though they were not apprehended at the time.
"The agent informed the group that they had illegally crossed the United States/Mexico Border at a place other than a designated port of entry and that this was a violation of federal law," the letter reportedly read.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s office appeared to confirm the exchange between Mr de Blasio’s security detail and border patrol agents took place, saying in a statement: “They observed a border patrol agent briefly speak with a United States law enforcement officer and then the agent left.”
According to the letter, the agent asked the mayor and his team to remain where they were so they could be taken to a legal entry point and inspected, per federal law, but they instead left the scene shortly after the agent.
However, Mr de Blasio’s office is strongly denying that he incident occurred.
"The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry,” Eric Phillips, the mayor’s spokesman, said in a statement to Fox News. ”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.”
Mr de Blasio has been a staunch critic of Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration policies along the southern border, participating in nationwide protests and demonstrations against the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
However, several other mayors who visited the region are also highly critical of the policy, which separated migrant families crossing the border until Mr Trump signed an executive order walking it back. None of them have been accused of crossing the border illegally.
Neither US Customs and Border Protection nor the mayor’s office immediately responded to requests for comment.