Immunity for Killings by Immigration Police

Photograph Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection – Public Domain

The American immigration police state continues to grow more tyrannical with each passing day. The latest example involves the U.S. Supreme Court, which has just issued a ruling in a case that effectively gives the Border Patrol a license to kill Mexican citizens. And guess which two magic words the Court used to justify its decision: “national security,” the two buzz words that the federal judiciary has used to justify every single dark-side, sordid, unconstitutional power exercised by the U.S. national-security establishment, such as state-sponsored assassinations, torture, indefinite detention, kangaroo military tribunals, and other totalitarian-like powers.

The case, Hernandez v. Mesa, involves the shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican citizen, Sergio Adrian Hernandez, by a U.S. Border Patrol officer named Jesus Mesa, Jr. Hernandez was playing with other Mexican children in a culvert that serves as the border between the United States and Mexico. The kids were playing a game that involved running back and forth across the border.

Mesa grabbed one of the kids on the U.S. side of the border and pointed his gun at Hernandez when Hernandez was on the Mexican side of the border. Mesa pulled the trigger and shot Hernandez in the face, killing him.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Justice Department refused to charge Mesa with a criminal offense, including murder, manslaughter, or even just negligent homicide.

Mexico and the United States have an extradition treaty. But when Mexico sought Mesa’s extradition to stand trial in Mexico, the U.S. government denied the request.

The Hernandez family filed suit for damages for the wrongful death of the boy, relying on the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which expressly prohibits U.S. officials from denying any person of life without due process of law. The plaintiffs were specifically relying on the 1971 Supreme Court case of Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, which held that people could recover damages when U.S. officers engage in unconstitutional conduct.

The Court in the Hernandez case, however, held that shooting a person in a foreign country doesn’t count. To recover under Bivens, the Court said, the killing has to take place on U.S. soil.

Does that distinction make any sense whatsoever? By its express terms, the Fifth Amendment doesn’t draw a distinction between life taken on domestic soil and life taken on foreign soil. It’s purpose is to prohibit U.S. officials from depriving anyone anywhere of life without due process of law.

Thus, even though the Border Patrol killer shot his gun while standing on U.S. soil, the fact that Hernandez was on Mexican soil when he was shot dead means that the plaintiffs are precluded from recovering damages for the wrongful death of the boy. To rule otherwise, the Court reasoned, would jeopardize “border security,” which means a threat to “national security,” the empty, meaningless, nebulous term that came into existence when the U.S. government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II.

America’s socialist immigration system has already brought into existence an immigration police state that entails such totalitarian measures as highway checkpoints, warrantless searches of ranches and farms near the border, roving Border Patrol checkpoints, boarding of Greyhound buses to check people’s papers, the criminalization of hiring, transporting, harboring, and helping illegal immigrants, the building of a Berlin Fence and a Berlin Wall, and eminent domain stealing of people’s land.

And now, thanks to the federal judiciary, U.S. officials have effectively now been given a license, as part of America’s immigration police state, to murder anyone in Mexico they wish to kill, so long as the assassin or sniper is positioned on U.S. soil and the victim is situated on Mexican soil. Thanks to judicial deference to the concept of “national security,” immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for killing a person on foreign soil is complete.

There is but one solution to this sordid, dark-side, socialist, deadly, brutal, and tyrannical system: the dismantling of America’s socialist immigration system and the immigration police state that it has brought into existence. That means liberty and free markets — i.e., the free and open movements of goods, services, and people across the international border—free trade and open immigration.

Open borders is also the only system that is consistent with religious, moral, economic, free-market, and freedom principles. It is also the only system that would bring an end to the massive death, suffering, crises, chaos, and destruction of liberty that characterizes America’s socialist system of the border.