Bachmann promises to work on releasing Border Patrol agent

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. Pool,AP Photo/Joe Burbank

Michelle Bachmann
CBS News

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Iowa, on friendly turf among fellow conservatives, promised Monday that she would work on releasing from prison a U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of using excessive force on a drug smuggler.

"Yes I would, yes I would," the GOP presidential candidate said at Council Bluff's Bayliss Park Hall before an audience of about 50 when asked if she would work to help release Jesus Diaz, the Border Patrol agent.

Diaz was convicted after being accused of using excessive force on a 16-year-old drug smuggler in 2008 near Eagle Pass, Texas, by wrenching his handcuffed arms upward while pressing a knee into his back. In an attempt to make the smuggler reveal where he had hidden marijuana, Diaz also allegedly kicked the teen and dropped him face-first on the ground.

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The Diaz case has become a cause célèbre among some conservatives opposed to illegal immigration who contend his prosecution was politically motivated at the behest of the Mexican government. They have pressed President Obama and other presidential candidates to act on the case.

Bachmann also said she was unimpressed by efforts to enforce the U.S.-Mexican border.

"I would build a fence -- every mile, every yard, every foot, every inch," she said. "I would build the fence and we have border security guards down there. The only problem is, the government has been suing the border security guards every time they want to try and enforce the border. I will have a very different view. I will tell the border security guards, if you follow the law, I will have your back."

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