U.S. Customs and Border Protection accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico during a visit last month to the border, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is alleging that de Blasio illegally crossed from Mexico into the U.S. while visiting the El Paso, Texas, area in June, an accusation the mayor's office flatly denies.
De Blasio went to a holding facility for immigrant children but was denied entry.
The spokesperson also said that the mayor had crossed the border to get a better glimpse of the tent city housing the immigrant children, which can only be seen from inside Mexico.
Agents with the Weslaco Station saw a group of people who had previously been unable to enter the USA climbing a tree to enter the country through Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) Port of Entry in Progreso, the agency said in a Wednesday news release. The agent asked if anyone from Border Patrol or public affairs was there to authorize their presence.
Mr de Blasio, a Democrat, has been a fierce critic of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that has led to the migrant family separations.
The official then reportedly informed the group they had crossed the border illegally. But the group disregarded the order, walking back to their vehicles and driving back to Mexico, according to the letter. They were south of the Tornillo, Texas, Port of Entry. Spokesman Eric Phillips told the AP that de Blasio and his team has authorization to be where they were.
He said it was an attempt to distract from the government's "inhumane policy".
"The Mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry", Mr Phillips said in a statement emailed to the BBC. Adler and several other mayors discussed their opposition to separating families and called on the government for action.