Things That Matter

Border Patrol Murdered A 15-Year-Old Boy In Mexico And Now The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case

The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a Mexican family’s case. In 2010, Sergio Hernandez was murdered by a United States border patrol agent — on Mexican soil along the southern border. His parents want to sue the man who shot and killed their teenage son, Jesus Mesa. 

SCOTUS will hear the case to decide if the family can sue, which will just begin the beginning of an uphill battle as the family will still have to prove Sergio’s constitutional rights were violated. Mesa, on the other hand, has claimed immunity as a government officer at work. He argues that there is no law that makes him liable and that foreigners murdered on foreign soil cannot sue U.S. officers for damages that occur abroad. 

Sergio Hernandez is killed by a U.S. border patrol agent in 2010.

The 15-year-old was shot to death by the agent as he hid behind a pillar in Mexico, according to CNN. Hernandez was hanging out with friends on a cement culvert that separates El Paso, Texas from Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. 

His parents claim he was playing a game where you cross the border, touch a fence, then run back onto Mexican soil. They believe Mesa arrived during the game and fatally shot their son. 

According to Messa, the boy was throwing rocks at him and he shot him when Hernandez when he refused to stop. The Justice Department did not bring a criminal charge against Mesa in 2012. 

“I want justice. This officer cannot be allowed to continue, because there’ll be another young victim, then another and another,” Maria Guereca told NPR in 2017

According to El Paso Times, the shooting was recorded on a video with a cellphone. There was a great public outcry, including protests in 2010. 

“We are very concerned about the message and the precedent it is sending throughout the border and the nation,” Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights said. “It might be telling us that the actions by the Border Patrol, not only mistreatment and killings, go unpunished and there is no accountability.”

Hernandez’s family says his constitutional rights were violated.

According to Quartz, the family believes his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unconstitutional governmental searches and seizures was violated — his death being the “seizure” in this case.  

The first time the family tried to have their case heard by SCOTUS it was remanded to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the family could not sue citing “special factors” like national security and diplomatic concerns. However, the family petitioned again and got it. They argued that suing the agent would not challenge law enforcement policies, immigration law or affect the United States’ diplomatic relationship with Mexico. 

Lawyers of Mexico filed a “friend of the court brief,” according to CNN, where they argue that US border agencies have killed dozens of individuals at the border and pled the justices to take the case. 

“When agents of the United States government violate fundamental rights of Mexican nationals and others within Mexico’s jurisdiction, it is a priority to Mexico to see that the United States has provided adequate means to hold the agents accountable and to compensate the victims,” they wrote. 

The solicitor general insists the family cannot sue. SCOTUS will finally weigh in. 

Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in court briefs that, “imposing a damages remedy on aliens injured abroad by US government officials would implicate foreign-policy considerations that are committed to the political branches” and that inserting the courts into matters of international diplomacy would, “risk undermining the government’s ability to speak with one voice in international affairs.”

While Francisco believes the court should hear the case because lower courts have been split on the matter, he is hoping SCOTUS will affirm the lower court’s decision to block the family from suing. 

Mexico argues SCOTUS must take the case to address excessive force at the border. In a brief, they remind of the justices of international human rights obligations. 

“The decision below failed to take account of the binding international human rights obligations that the United States has undertaken by treaty to Mexico and its nationals. Those include, among others, the obligation to respect the fundamental right not to be arbitrarily deprived of life and the right to an effective remedy when fundamental rights have been violated,” the government stated.

“A nation’s obligations to respect human rights do not stop at its borders but apply anywhere that the nation exercises effective control.”

While it has taken nearly a decade, SCOTUS will now decide if the actions of individuals carried out abroad have consequences on American soil. The outcome will set a new precedent and will have serious outcomes for how agents treat immigrants in the future. 

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Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Things That Matter

Armed Police In Tulum Arrested A Gay Couple For Allegedly Kissing On The Beach

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has remained a popular tourist destination as people seek out places with fewer restrictions. However, Mexico’s popular beach destination of Tulum apparently still has some restrictions – for LGBTQ folks – that the police are quick to enforce.

A Canadian couple was briefly detained by police for allegedly kissing on the beach.

Police in the popular resort town of Tulum, about 90-minutes south of Cancun, briefly arrested a gay couple for kissing in public on a beach, alleging that the couple was not allowed to kiss in public because children were present.

According to local media reports, police said they were reacting to a report by someone else on the beach who had claimed that the men were “committing immoral acts.”

The couple were handcuffed together and ordered in to the back of a patrol vehicle until a crowd of onlookers formed and began to shout disapprovingly at police after one of the men explained to the crowd why they were being detained.

Outraged bystanders gathered around the couple and urged the police to let the men go.

The crowd began shouting in support of the couple, calling the actions homophobic and demanding the couple’s release.

The pressure from the crowd apparently prompted officers to release the men after a few minutes of dialogue. The presence of Escalante herself might also have been a factor.

In response to the arrest, Quintana Roo Tulum Police said: ‘We are an inclusive and impartial police both for residents and tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo. So no abuse of authority will be tolerated.’

Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media with outrage being the common reaction.

Video and photos of the arrest went viral after on social media accounts, including that of local politician Maritza Escalante Morales, who denounced the actions of the officers. Escalante happened to be at the beach with her family when she noticed the officers approach the couple, she said, and joined the crowd to advocate for the couple’s release.

“I want to file a PUBLIC COMPLAINT, because the treatment and type of authorities we have in our municipality is inexcusable. Yesterday while I was on the beach with my family, we noticed around 4:30 that 2 police squads in their ATVs approached a group of young foreigners. After about 20 minutes, a patrol arrived and proceeded to arrest them with handcuffs,” she explained on TikTok.

“The policemen were VIOLENT,” Morales added, “and gave arguments such as ‘there are families and children and they cannot be seeing this. I am FURIOUS because it is not possible that in the XXI century this type of oppression against the LGBT+ community continues. We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these authorities.”

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

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This Teacher Received A Nissan Pickup Truck Decked Out As A Mobile Classroom

Like students around the world, kids in Mexico have been forced to take school online or tune into programming on public TV in order to learn. But that’s just the kids who are lucky enough to have access to Internet or a TV. Many students live in rural areas and lack the adequate resources to continue their studies amid the global pandemic.

But thankfully, there are many good samaritans out there (aka compassionate teachers) who have invented their own ways to bring the classroom to kids wherever they are.

A Mexican teacher was gifted a decked out pickup truck by Nissan.

Since schools were forced to close last year in April, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores, has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.

News of her project spread across social media, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México. This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.

“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.

Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”

“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.

The mobile classroom is pretty legit and will allow Esparza to continue her good deed.

Esparza inside her new classroom.

The decked out Nissan pickup truck has three walls (the other is a retractable sheeting) and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.

It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.

Access to education in Mexico is highly inequitable.

Esparza, like many teachers across the country, found that not all distance learning was equal. Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 58% of students in Mexico had a home computer – the lowest percentage among all OECD countries. And only about one third (32%) of the school computers in rural schools in Mexico were connected to
the Internet, compared to more than 90% for schools located in urban areas.

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