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Family argues Mexican teen killed by U.S. Border Patrol agent had Constitutional Rights

February 25, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Family argues Mexican teen killed by U.S. Border Patrol agent had Constitutional Rights Relatives of Sergio Hernández sit in Ciudad Juarez at the U.S.-Mexico border, on the second anniversary of his killing in 2012. Jesus Alcazar/AFP/Getty Images

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On Tuesday, a Mexican family, whose son was fatally shot by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, told the U.S. Supreme Court that the officer infringed on their son’s constitutional rights by using unnecessary lethal force.

A preliminary problem is whether the Constitution applies to someone who is not a citizen of the U.S. citizen and was standing on Mexican soil at the time of the incident.

The incident took place in 2010 on the Mexico-Texas border at El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. Sergio Hernandez Guereca, 15, was shot and killed on the Mexican side of the border while the Border Patrol agent remained in U.S. territory. The family contends that the area was “controlled” by the U.S. The federal government, through the U.S. Department of Justice, asserted that the agent is entitled to qualified immunity.

**GRAPHIC CONTENT ** Mexican forensic experts examine the body of 14 year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca  (AP Photo)

In their request filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, the teen’s family stated: “This Court should make clear that our border is not an on/off switch for the Constitution’s fundamental protections.”

The debate occurred just after the Trump Administration issued policies calling for the immediate construction of a border wall. On January 25th, President Trump endorsed an executive order to build the proposed wall.

The federal case of Hernandez v. Mesa has made its way up the federal system since the case was initially filed back in 2011. The shooting took place in 2010.

Proponents for the family argue that Hernandez Guereca and others were playing a game in which they would illegally cross into the U.S., run up to the barbed wire fence and then run back.

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa was conducting bicycle patrol. He said that he acted in self-defense and the U.S. Justice Department concluded in 2012 after a probe that the shooting “occurred while smugglers attempting an illegal crossing flung rocks from close range at a CBP agent who was trying to detain a suspect.”

amily and friends gather around the body of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was killed on June 7th, 2010 by a Border Patrol agent.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Agent Mesa was entitled to immunity “because he did not violate established rights flowing from [the Constitution.]” Hernandez, as a Mexican national, he “had no ‘significant voluntary connection’ to the U.S.,” and cannot assert an excessive force claim.

The court of appeals dropped the case and a well-respected justice nominated by President Ronald Reagan, Justice Edith H. Jones stated, “We should discourage this litigation before it takes root.”

The U.S. DOJ under the Obama administration determined that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mesa after the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, reviewed the incident. The U.S. government refused to charge the agent and would not award extradition to Mexico.

Border Patrol agents are regularly assaulted with rocks, and rocks have been used to injure officers severely; they can even be used to kill an official.

According to Breitbart Texas,  attacks targeting U.S. Border Patrol agents were up 230% during the first two months of the new fiscal year which began on October 1st.

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