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The U.S. Supreme Court issued two massive 5-4 rulings this week on cases involving immigration.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of tossing a lawsuit filed against a Texas border agent for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager.
Here’s more from Fox News on the case:
A divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in favor of a Border Patrol agent who faced a lawsuit from parents of a Mexican child he killed in a June 2010 cross-border shooting.
Jesus Mesa Jr. and the parents of 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca gave different accounts of what happened, with the parents claiming the teen and his friends were playing a game where they ran back and forth across the border, and Mesa claiming they threw rocks at him during an illegal border-crossing attempt.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling said that regardless of the circumstances, precedent regarding lawsuits against officers, known as “Bivens claims,” does not apply to cross-border shootings.
“As we have made clear in many prior cases,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, “the Constitution’s separation of powers requires us to exercise caution before extending Bivens to a new ‘context,’ and a claim based on a cross-border shooting arises in a context that is markedly new.”
In the 1971 opinion Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, Alito detailed several reasons why it was inappropriate in this case.
The first factor was the impact a lawsuit in such a case could have on foreign relations.
Alito then noted concerns with the court getting involved with matters of national security.
“Since regulating the conduct of agents at the border unquestionably has national security implications, the risk of undermining border security provides reason to hesitate before extending Bivens into this field,” he said.
The majority on the court who ruled in favor of the border patrol agent also cited Congress’ history of not awarding damages in cases against federal officials where the injuries took place outside the U.S.
Mesa (border agent) was on American soil at the time and Hernández (the boy) was on the Mexican side of the border when Mesa shot him.
Fox News reported:
The Supreme Court’s decision upheld those from the District Court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. This was the second time this case had gone before the Supreme Court. In 2017, the court declined to rule and sent the case back down to the Fifth Circuit for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in another matter that dealt with Bivens claims.