Supreme Court finds parents can’t sue US Border Patrol agent who shot son in Mexico

u.s. supreme court
U.S. Supreme Court [Photo courtesy U.S. Supreme Court]

Washington – On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Mexican parents, whose son was shot while throwing rocks through the border fence at U.S. Border Patrol agents. The Court found that the parents of Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican citizen, cannot try to sue the agent in U.S. courts for damages.

The 5-4 ruling is a win for Border Patrol agents, the U.S. government, and Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa.

The Hernandez family’s lawsuit contended that Mesa had used excessive force against Sergio, which violated the boy’s rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said that “regulating the conduct of agents at the border unquestionably has national security implications” and that any risk of undermining border security provides a “reason to hesitate.” Justice Alito emphasized that the circumstances surrounding the case were “tragic,” but said Congress needs to act, rather than the courts.

In 2010, the 15-year-old Hernandez was with friends on a cement culvert that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The international border runs down the middle of the culvert.

Justice Thomas filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Gorsuch joined. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan joined.

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