In Cross-border Shooting Case, Supreme Court Asks: Does Constitution Stop at the Border?

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case involving the cross-border shooting of a Mexican teenager, who was standing in Mexico, by a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was standing in El Paso.The case may invite prosecution against border patrol agents who injure or kill Mexican citizens at a time when the Trump administration is looking to swell the ranks and expand the responsibilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.But during oral arguments, the justices at times focused on the minute circumstantial details of the highly unusual case — like the fact that both countries are technically responsible for maintenance of the concrete culvert that winds between two fences on the border of El Paso and Juárez.“It’s like nothing I’ve seen before,” Justice Stephen Breyer said.Justice Elena Kagan added: “Whatever it is, it’s something very different from most areas where we know exactly whose jurisdiction operates, and how.” The case began almost seven years ago, when U.S. border patrol agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot and killed Sergio Hernández, a Mexican 15-year-old who was playing with his friends. Mesa was standing in El Paso when he fired the shot, while Hernández crouched behind a concrete pillar in the fenced-off culvert that is technically in Juárez.  Continue reading...

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