Supreme Court Votes No on Claims against Border Agent who Shot and Killed 15-Year-Old Mexican Boy at Border

Published by Matt Fishman on

Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, a 15-year-old Mexican national, was with a group of friends near the border that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa, Jr., detained one of Hernández’s friends who had run onto the United States’ side of the border. After Hernández, who was also on the United States’ side, ran back across the border onto Mexican soil, Agent Mesa fired two shots at Hernández; one struck and killed him on the other side of the border.

The United States Supreme Court has voted 5-4 in a decision which will prevent the boy’s family from claiming damages against the border patrol agent. Sergio’s parents “sought recovery of damages…, alleging that Mesa violated Hernández’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.”

The court’s decision “held that Hernández was not entitled to Fourth Amendment protection because he was “a Mexican citizen who had no ‘significant voluntary connection’ to the United States” and “was on Mexican soil at the time he was shot.”” “It further concluded that Mesa was entitled to qualified immunity [with regards to the] Fifth Amendment claim.” (Qualified immunity “protects a government official from lawsuits…, only allowing suits where officials violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right.”

Additionally, the Supreme Court refers to “multiple factors” “including the incident’s relationship to foreign affairs and national security, the extraterritorial aspect of the case, and Congress’s “repeated refusals” to create a damages remedy for injuries incurred on foreign soil” as reasons for their decision.