WASHINGTON, D.C. — Mexican military and law enforcement have made 300 unauthorized border incursions into the United States since 2004, the Department of Homeland Security revealed to California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) Tuesday.
Hunter, who has been trying to secure the release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi held in a Mexican jail since March after he took a wrong turn into the country with three guns, had requested information about Mexican incursions into the United States earlier this year.
In a response letter obtained by Breitbart News, Gil Kerlikowske, the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told Hunter that of the 300 unauthorized incursions since Jan. 1, 2004, there were 152 incidents involving a total of about 525 armed subjects.
“Of the 152 incidents involving armed subjects, verbal or physical contact was made with the armed subjects in 81 incidents (approximately 322 armed subjects in total),” he wrote, noting that an encounter with the Mexican military or Mexican law enforcement does not always mean a stand off or confrontation.
Of the 81 armed encounters, he noted, 131 subjects were detained.
According to Hunter, given Mexico’s actions toward Tahmooressi, the U.S. needs to make it clear to Mexico that incursions by its officers will not be tolerated.
“In Andrew’s case, Mexico has shown its intolerance for the same action that its police and military initiated hundreds of times in the last several years alone,” Hunter said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its treatment of the incidents and send a direct message to Mexico that incursions won’t be tolerated along the international border.”
Kerlikowske in his letter to Hunter explained that the U.S. government works with Mexico to try to avoid these situations.
“Foreign military incursions are infrequent but can involve officer safety and other concerns. Therefore, CBP has created the Foreign Operations Branch and International Liaison Unit. These specialized liaison units meet face-to-face on a daily or weekly basis and interact frequently via cellular phone with law enforcement and military entities from the Government of Mexico named in Sonora, Mexico,” Kerlikowske wrote. “This communication provides an opportunity to share real-time actionable information and reduce conflicts along the border as well as plan and execute mont patrols or other operations in specific target or priority areas.”
Earlier this year an incident involving a Border Patrol standoff with two armed Mexican soldiers made headlines. At the time a Mexican Embassy spokesman called the confrontation “an isolated and unintended occurrence,” according to the LA Times. Both countries chalked the incident up to an accident.