February 25, 2015 / 3:38 AM / 3 years ago

Mexico proposes allowing foreign agents to bear arms

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto gives a speech during a lunch as part an official welcoming ceremony for Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan at the National Palace in Mexico City February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Henry Ro. mero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed a reform on Tuesday that would authorize foreign immigration and customs agents to carry arms while in the country, an issue that has long been a source of friction with the United States.

In 2011, an unarmed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent was killed when his car was ambushed by drug gang members in central Mexico.

The goal of the proposal is to “strengthen commercial exchange and diplomatic relations between Mexico and other nations,” the government said in a statement.

Under the proposed reform, foreign security personnel accompanying high-level government officials to Mexico would also be able to bear arms.

The proposal comes as U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration seeks to move forward with immigration reform, despite a federal judge’s decision that temporarily halted his executive actions.

The heavy flow of migrants across the shared U.S.-Mexico border, many of them from Central America, culminated in a crisis for Obama last year.

Reporting by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Simon Gardner and Miral Fahmy

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