Border Patrol agents were reportedly unable to stop a brazen illegal crossing into the United States last month -- by the mayor of New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas violated both Mexican and U.S. immigration laws when he and his security detail illegally crossed the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a letter obtained by Fox News.
The letter, sent June 25, stated de Blasio and his security detail, run by the New York Police Department, illegally crossed the border near El Paso on June 21. The mayor and his security detail were spotted taking photos by a Border Patrol agent on the Rio Grande River flood plain south of the Tornillo, Texas, Port of Entry.
They reportedly had been denied entrance to a holding facility for immigrant children.
The agent approached a group of 10 to 12 people and asked if they received authorization from a Border Patrol or public affairs officer to be in the area. New York Police Department inspector Howard Redmond was with de Blasio and the group did not have a Border Patrol agent or public affairs officer with them, according to the letter.
When asked how they entered the vicinity, the group pointed toward Mexico.
“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 read.
The agent ordered the group to remain at the scene, but they disregarded the request and walked across a river bed and back into Mexico. The agent had left to get a supervisor to take the group to an official crossing for an inspection per federal law.
Just before 4 p.m. on the same day, a vehicle carrying de Blasio, Redmond and the rest of the group arrived at the Tornillo Port of Entry to head back into the U.S., the letter stated.
Aaron Hull, the chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector, had sent the letter to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill.
The office of Austin Mayor Steve Adler told Fox News in a statement that de Blasio and his security detail “were neither apprehended nor detained.”
“They observed a border patrol agent briefly speak with a United States law enforcement officer and then the agent left,” the statement added.
De Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, said in a statement to Fox News the mayor and his security detail had received direct approval to cross “at this port of entry,” despite what the letter described.
"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,” Phillips said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection could not immediately be reached for comment.
De Blasio has been a staunch critic of Trump and his immigration policies. He vowed to protect all illegal immigrants in New York City when Trump was elected president in 2016.
De Blasio was visiting the U.S.-Mexico border with about 20 other mayors from across the nation when the alleged incident occurred.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.