Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) sent the following letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate reports of US Border Patrol sharing information of the whereabouts of civilian volunteer groups on the border with the Mexican Government:

Recent news reports that the U.S. Border Patrol is sharing locations of civilian border volunteer groups, such as the Minutemen and Friends of the Border Patrol, with the Mexican government has caused great alarm to many Members of Congress. With heightened tensions in Congress over the debate on a broad border security bill and the emergence of these civilian border volunteers, I think it is important for Members to gain a greater understanding of the interaction between our Border Patrol and these groups.

Many people have donated their time to assist with civilian border patrols because of their 1st Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. They are frustrated over the failure to enforce the law and protect our borders. These groups were formed to provide a watchful eye and help support our Border Patrol with information on movements across our borders. We are writing to ask that you consider undertaking an important study to discuss how the Department of Homeland Security utilizes information received from the Minutemen and like groups and what, if any, coordination is arranged between them.

Additionally, with reports that our Border Patrol officials are identifying Minutemen locations and compromising their security by communicating these with Mexican Foreign Ministry officials, we would also like you to identify the extent of the relationship between the Department of Homeland Security and the Mexican Foreign Ministry. T.J. Bonner, President of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing more than 10,000 Border Patrol agents has heard complaints from his agents about the Mexican Foreign Ministrys influence over the agency. We believe diplomatic negotiations between our two nations are best left to our State Department, rather than through a law enforcement agency such as the Department of Homeland Security. We would appreciate your insight into this important matter as well.

Nineteen other Members of Congress jointly signed Congressman Poes letter. Congressman Poe is a member of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and serves on the House Committee on International Relations, Terrorism Subcommittee.

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