Two US immigration agents shot in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were shot Tuesday afternoon in the line of duty in Mexico, according to an ICE statement.

The agents assigned to the ICE Attache office in Mexico City were attacked by unknown assailants while driving between Mexico City and the northern city of Monterrey.

There were no details on their condition or the precise location of the shooting.

The Mexican President's Office and Mexican immigration officials said they had no information on the attack.

San Luis Potosi state police had a report of shooting on a federal highway leading to Monterrey involving two people, one of whom was airlifted by helicopter to Mexico City, according to Public Safety spokesman Omar Nino.

Though Mexico is seeing record rates of violence from warring drug cartels and a crackdown on organized crime, it is rare for U.S. officials to be attacked.

But the U.S. government has increasingly become concerned about the safety of its employees in Mexico amid the escalating violence.

In March, a U.S. employee of the consulate, her husband and a Mexican tied to the consulate were killed when drug gang members fired on their cars as they left a children's party in Ciudad Juarez, the city across from El Paso, Texas.

The U.S. State Department has taken several measures over the past year to protect consulate employees and their families. It has at times authorized the departure of relatives of U.S. government employees in northern Mexican cities.

In July, it temporarily closed the consulate in Ciudad Juarez after receiving unspecified threats.

ICE is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government.

It was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service and has more than 20,000 employees in offices in all 50 states and 47 foreign countries.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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