LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Border Patrol is alerting the Mexican government to the locations of civilian border patrol groups when the organizations help detain suspected illegal immigrants or use violence against them, according to a published report.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Mario Martinez told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin of Ontario that the policy is meant to assure the Mexican government that migrants' rights are being observed.
The policy pertains to groups including the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and the Friends of the Border Patrol, a Chino-based nonprofit.
"It's not a secret where the Minuteman volunteers are going to be," Martinez said Monday. "This ... simply makes two basic statements -- that we will not allow any lawlessness of any type, and that if an alien is encountered by a Minuteman or arrested by the Minuteman, then we will allow that government to interview the person."
Minuteman members, however, said the Border Patrol's policy negates the private group's effectiveness and could endanger their lives.
"Now we know why it seemed like Mexican officials knew where we were all the time," said Chris Simcox, the organization's founder. "It's unbelievable that our own government agency is sending intelligence to another country. They are sending intelligence to a nation where corruption runs rampant, and that could be getting into the hands of criminal cartels."
The Daily Bulletin said it was unable to reach officials with the Mexican consulate in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
TJ Bonner, president of the Border Patrol agents' union, said members have long complained that the Mexican government has undue influence over U.S. enforcement policies.
"That's not a legitimate role for any foreign nation," Bonner said.