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Mexican government demands protection for Mexicans in the U.S. in wake of El Paso shooting

El Paso community shaken
El Paso community shaken 02:09

Mexico demanded protections for Mexican and Mexican-American communities in the U.S. after at least 22 people — eight of whom were identified as Mexican nationals — were killed Saturday in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The Justice Department is treating the attack as an act of domestic terrorism and federal investigators are treating it as a hate crime.

Mexico's President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador,  is demanding "conditions are established that protect the Mexican-American community and Mexicans in the United States," Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a video.

"What has occurred is unacceptable," Ebrard continued, adding that he would be traveling to El Paso, which borders the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, on Monday.

In a separate video, Ebrard said the Mexican government was working with the victims' families and that it would pursue legal action against the seller of the weapon that was used in the attack. According to Reuters, Ebrard is expected to ask U.S. authorities to turn the bodies of Mexican citizens over to their families in Mexico as quickly as possible. Reuters also reports Ebrard will be meeting with the Mexican attorney general on Tuesday to share results of the U.S. investigation and build a terrorism case, a rare law enforcement designation for two countries who usually cooperate on criminal cases centered around drug trafficking. 

"We consider this an act of terrorism, in this case carried out in U.S. territory, but an act of terrorism against Mexicans," Ebrard said at the Mexican consulate in El Paso. "It will be the first investigative case of this importance in the history of Mexico regarding terrorism in United States territory," he added.

"The intention of the attack against the Latino and Mexican communities in El Paso is terrifying," Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Martha Bárcena said, adding that she would also be traveling to El Paso to offer the support of the Mexican government to victims and their families there.

"There has to be a stop to xenophobic and racist discourse. NO to violence. NO to hate," she said.

Mexico's foreign ministry also condemned Saturday's shooting as a terrorist attack against Mexican and Mexican-American people.  

"The government of Mexico will undertake measures to guarantee justice for the victims," it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Mexico's president urged the promotion of universal brotherhood.

"The unfortunate events that have occurred in the United States must bring reflection, analysis and a push for control over the sale of weapons," Obrador said.

The 21-year old suspected gunman is being held without bond on capital murder charges. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said the suspect purchased his weapon legally.

El Paso suspect may be charged as terrorist 09:47
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