Feb 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Family of Mexican teen killed by border agent cannot sue, SCOTUS rules

Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4, along ideological lines, that the family of a Mexican teenager who was killed across the southern border by a U.S. border agent cannot sue for damages.

Why it matters: The court’s decision avoids inviting more lawsuits from foreign nationals against U.S. law enforcement. The court noted in its opinion that “a cross-border shooting claim has foreign relations and national security implications.”

"Both the United States and Mexico have legitimate and important interests that may be affected by the way in which this matter is handled," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court opinion. "It is not our task to arbitrate between them."

Details: Border agent Jesus Mesa was on U.S. soil when he shot and killed 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca in 2010, after the teen had run back across the border to Mexico.

  • “The gravity of this ruling could not be clearer given the Trump administration’s militarized rhetoric and policies targeting people at the border," ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement. "Border agents should not have immunity to fatally shoot Mexican teenagers on the other side of the border fence. The Constitution does not stop at the border.”

What to watch: The ACLU has a separate but similar case on behalf of another Mexican teenager who was shot by a U.S. border patrol agent through the fence and killed in 2012.

Go deeper

Supreme Court allows Trump's full "Remain in Mexico" program to continue

President Trump at a rally in Phoenix in February. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/Getty Images

The Supreme Court gave the Trump administration another immigration win on Wednesday, blocking a federal injunction that would have halted the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — or "Remain in Mexico" policy — in California and Arizona.

Why it matters: The Trump administration sent military troops to parts of the border ahead of the decision in order to prepare for any surges of migrants crossing the border if MPP was halted, per the New York Times.

Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program, then grants emergency stay

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), only to be reinstated a couple of hours later, AP reports.

The state of play: After the court's initial ruling, the judges granted the Trump administration's request for an emergency stay just hours later, per The Washington Post. The Department of Justice argued there could be an influx of migrants who reach the border since 25,000 migrants have been ­waiting in Mexico, endangering national security.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pompeo announces U.S.-Mexico border will close to non-essential travel

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a White House briefing Friday that the U.S.-Mexico border will close to all non-essential travel for at least the next 30 days.

The big picture: The news comes just days after President Trump announced a similar closure of the U.S.-Canada border, though both measures still allow trade and workers to cross. The announcement also follows an indefinite State Department warning for Americans to avoid all international travel.