Widespread incursions by armed Mexican officers put border agents in regular standoffs

Armed Mexican troops and police regularly stray across the U.S. border, according to statistics the Department of Homeland Security provided to Congress on Tuesday that indicate more than 500 of them have jumped the border in the past decade.

Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said in a letter to Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican, that, in many of those cases, the armed Mexican military or law enforcement personnel ended up in confrontations with American authorities, and 131 people were detained.

“While the number of unauthorized incursions by Mexican authorities is relatively few, it is imperative for our officer safety to handle each situation assertively but with sensitivity and professionalism,” Mr. Kerlikowske said.

But Mr. Hunter disputed the commissioner’s evaluation that dozens of incursions a year was rare.

“DHS states that the number of incursions is ‘relatively few,’ but that is a misrepresentation of the frequency of these occurrences, which Mexico invites through its activities along the international border. Also, there is a clear lack of consistency among DHS in handling these incidents, especially in cases of unauthorized incursions with armed authorities,” Mr. Hunter said.

According to Homeland Security numbers, there have been 300 incursions by Mexican police or troops since Jan. 1, 2004. The Mexicans were armed in slightly more than half of those incidents, totaling 525 people. There was a verbal or physical altercation between U.S. authorities and the Mexicans in 81 instances — totaling 320 Mexican police or troops.

In the case of Sgt. Tahmooressi, Mexican officials said he didn’t immediately identify himself as a member of the U.S. military when he drove across the border and into Mexico through an official port of entry

Full article: Widespread incursions by armed Mexican officers put border agents in regular standoffs (The Washington Times)

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