Texas Attorney Stands with Mexico Against Deadly US Border Tactics

Texas Attorney Stands with Mexico Against Deadly US Border Tactics

As US/Mexico relations deteriorated during US President Donald Trump’s first weeks in office, a powerful Texas attorney is taking a Mexican cause célèbre to the highest court in the United States.

Bob Hilliard stands with Mexico

“Innocent Mexican citizens have been killed and their families have had no recourse through the court system to seek justice,” said Bob Hilliard, Founding Partner at Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales, LLP in Corpus Christi, Texas. Hilliard has taken up the cause of Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, a 15-year-old Mexican citizen killed by US Border Patrol Agent, Jesus Mesa, who shot the teen at point-blank range as the unarmed boy stood yards away in Mexico.

“The agent shot him twice,” an eyewitness said. “He thought about it for about five seconds, because he shot at him once, left him astonished, then shot him again.”

A boy’s tragic death

“One round struck subject under left eye, subject expired on scene.” This is how a US Border Patrol report described the June 2010 shooting. Hilliard filed suit on behalf of Sergio’s family to ensure that the boy’s tragic death would bring about significant reforms in the conduct of border agents. On February 21st, Mr. Hilliard takes the case to the Supreme Court of the United States to present oral argument that the protections of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment apply.

Hilliard speaks for the voiceless

Mr. Hilliard goes before the highest court in the land to speak for the voiceless Mexican citizens victimized by excessive force at the hands of US government agents. Border agents have shot across the border and killed at least eight Mexicans since 2006, according to government records. So far, all attempts to hold these agents accountable for their actions have failed, because the victims were Mexican citizens standing on Mexican soil.

The killing zone

Mr. Hilliard said, “The border is a symbol. It is more than the physical end of one country and the beginning of another. It is a reminder of an indisputable and permanent connection of cultures and peoples, of shared lives and daily interactions.”

He continued, “Our border line was never meant to be a bright line, marking the end of the rule of law and civil protections, giving those who should know better permission to shuck their training and responsibility and open fire on neighbors.”

Seeking protection for Mexican citizens

A previous decision by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed efforts to bring those responsible for Sergio’s death to justice, suggesting that the teenager was not protected by the US Constitution, because he “was on Mexican soil at the time he was shot.”

“Our Constitution is strong enough to protect the most vulnerable and innocent of our southern neighbors,” said Mr. Hilliard. “The Fourth Amendment prohibits unjustified use of deadly force.”

The High Court will decide if Sergio’s family can sue the US Border Patrol and whether the US Constitution protects noncitizens like Sergio, who are the victims of a US agency’s excessive force.

Hilliard: “this case is about right and wrong…”

Mr. Hilliard said, “To watch this increasing epidemic of unjustified shootings and not acknowledge our own responsibility to ensure justice for the victims lowers us to the basest level of inhumanity.”

Mr. Hilliard continued, “The court should be the conscience of the people. It must acknowledge that human worth is not determined by place of birth and justice is not determined by where that life ends — especially a young life cut short when a US law enforcement agent, standing inside the US and governed by this country’s constitutional constraints, pulls the trigger.”

Mr. Hilliard asked, “Was Sergio less worthy of protection simply because he was a poor Mexican national? Regardless of where each of us stands on the immigration debate or the building of a border wall, this case is about right and wrong, life and death. About a young life taken too soon by the actions of a US Border Patrol agent.”

(Source: Hilliard Munoz Gonzales LLP)