The state of Texas is testing the legal limits of border control, by being the center of several major court battles. President Donald Trump considers Texas as the forefront of his efforts to counter immigration from Mexico.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on border issues received less attention, since all eyes were focused on the court voting to reinstate Trump’s travel ban on Monday. There will be consequences for law enforcement along the Southern border depending on the outcome of the case of a teenager shot dead on Mexican soil by a United States patrol officer in 2010.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals must consider the case, the Supreme Court ruled after rejecting the previous ruling of the lower court that upheld immunity from prosecution of Jesus Mesa Jr., the U.S. Border Patrol Agent who fatally shot Sergio Adrian Hernández Guerceca, a 15-year-old Mexican, under his left eye.
The agent got previously cleared from wrongdoing by the FBI, he also got his immunity defended by the government from civil lawsuits. The teenager’s family’s attorney praised on Monday the decision of the Supreme Court against this. “When [border patrol agents] draw their weapons and aim across our border, they now know that this is not a free killing zone, where lawlessness is unchecked and shootings are not investigated,” Robert Hilliard, a Texas attorney, said in a statement.
The ruling is only one of Texas’s legal hurdles over immigration and border control. Texas signed the controversial SB4 “sanctuary cities” bill in May into law, which introduces harsher punishment for law enforcement agents who do not detain illegal migrants on federal request. Police officers are allowed to question people during routine checks about their immigration status, because of the bill. The bill receives support from the Trump administration, as it is in line with its own stance on immigration.