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    Border Bullets: US Agent Who Fatally Shot Mexican Teen Can’t Be Sued

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    A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a United States Border Patrol agent can shoot and kill teenagers in Mexico from across the border, as long as the person they kill is not from the United States.

    In June of 2010, Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa Jr. fatally shot Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, a 15-year-old boy, near a bridge that runs between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. 

    Mesa was attempting to arrest people who had illegally crossed over into Texas, when he says he was hit by rocks hurled at him from over the Mexican border. The agent fired his weapon across the Rio Grande and shot the teenager twice.

    The family of the teen attempted to sue the officer, but in a unanimous ruling, the full 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that a Fourth Amendment claim cannot be asserted by a Mexican citizen who was shot in Mexico, without “significant connection” to the United States, despite the shooter having fired from Texas.

    "It is common ground, and the court does not deny, that the agent knew that it would have been wrong to kill a US citizen who was standing in Mexico," attorney for Guereca’s family Marion Reilly wrote in a statement. "So the court has ruled that it was appropriate for the agent to kill an unarmed teenager based on his nationality — don't kill him if he is a US citizen, but fire away if he is a Mexican."

    This was the third time the family attempted to file the suit.  The first time the judge ruled that they could not sue in the United States as the effects of the killing were felt in Mexico.  Later, a three-judge panel of the 5th circuit decided that Mesa could in fact be sued, but this latest decision upheld the original ruling.

    Reilly said the family has not decided whether they will appeal the ruling, but in a statement they expressed they would leave it up to others to decide if the court had lost its moral bearings.

    "On behalf of the parents of an innocent slain teenager — a human being, regardless of his nationality — we simply note that they and we had not expected such a decision from a court of the United States," Reilly wrote.

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    Tags:
    Border Patrol, Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, Jesus Mesa Jr, El Paso, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, Texas
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