Rep. Mike Grim (R-NY) letter to Secretary Clinton permitting U.S. law enforcement to carry weapons when working in Mexico.

Last month, two unarmed U.S. federal law enforcement agents assigned…

Last month, two unarmed U.S. federal law enforcement agents assigned to help the Mexican government combat crime were attacked by a criminal cartel, killing one of the agents. At this time, the Mexican government prohibits them from being armed, leaving them with no means for self-defense. After meeting with Mexican President Calderon on March 3, President Obama announced that he supports the policy and that U.S. law enforcement agents working in Mexico shall remain unarmed.

Rep. Grimm, a former FBI Agent, is leading the charge against this outrageous policy, with the strong support of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). If you would like to sign on Rep. Grimm’s letter to Secretary of State Clinton urging the State Department to work with the Mexican government to allow U.S. agents to carry weapons, please contact Carol Danko (carol.danko@mail.house.gov, x53371) by Thursday at noon.

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We are writing to express our strong concerns regarding the U.S. government’s failure to arm federal law enforcement agents working abroad, and to express our deep disappointment with President Obama’s announcement last week in support of Mexican President Calderon’s policy prohibiting U.S. agents working in Mexico from being armed. After two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were attacked last month in Mexico, we are urging the State Department to work with foreign governments to permit our agents to carry the necessary tools for self-protection and the safe execution of their law enforcement duties.

As you know, on February 15, 2011, two ICE Special Agents were driving unarmed in a government vehicle when they were savagely ambushed by Mexican cartel members who fired 83 rounds at them. Special Agent Jaime Zapata was murdered and Special Agent Victor Avila was seriously injured. These agents had no way to defend themselves, as they were not permitted to carry weapons. While the Mexican government has issued gun permits to some permanently assigned U.S. agents, those temporarily assigned (referred to as “TDY”) receive no protection. Just because U.S. agents, like Jaime Zapata, are only in Mexico for a six-month detail, does not mean that they are any less at risk.

It has also come to our attention that these cartels are specifically targeting American agents. If this is the case, it is completely unacceptable that we continue to send them to Mexico without protection. We cannot continue to put U.S. agents in harm’s way, while denying them the tools to protect themselves. If they are going to put their lives on the line at the request of the U.S. government, they should be afforded the same protective measures they have when serving on American soil.

After the death of one ICE Special Agent and with evidence that American agents have become a target for Mexican cartels, why are we still sending them to Mexico unarmed? Furthermore, why has the U.S. Embassy in Mexico failed to take all actions necessary to secure gun permits for them?

We respectfully urge the U.S. government to reconsider its position and to work with the Mexican government, and with the governments of other dangerous nations, to ensure that our agents receive the permits necessary to carry weapons. In the meantime, we would like to know what actions are being taken to ensure the safety of the unarmed agents working in Mexico and in other nations abroad. Thank you for your close attention to this matter, and we look forward to your prompt reply.

Sincerely,

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