An illegal Mexican that was trying to cross the border was shot and killed as they allegedly played a game. The way the game works is that kids run over the border and back again.
The sad part is that teenagers were playing this so-called game when it is a game for little kids. The report shows that the teens were throwing rocks at agents. The agents thought they were under attack, and they returned fire. The teenagers started the altercation.
Sadly, a teen was killed. But the family decided that they were going to sue the agent for the death of the child who should have never been messing around the border in the first place. The case landed in the Supreme Court who finally ruled in favor of the border agent. The ruling stated that this case does not apply to cross-border shootings.
Justice Samuel Alito would write that “As we have made clear in many prior cases. The Constitution’s separation of powers requires us to exercise caution before extending Bivens to a new ‘context,’ and a claim based on a cross-border shooting arises in a context that is markedly new.”
The Bivens clause stems from another court case in 1971 where the court ruled that “a person claiming they were unlawfully arrested and searched could bring a lawsuit under the Fourth Amendment, even if there was no statutory basis for it.”
In this case, the plaintiff is from Mexico which would not apply in this case. For the court to rule this as a Bivens case would set a new standard of which would qualify for such a ruling.
Justice Alito would further clarify that “A cross-border shooting is by definition an international incident; it involves an event that occurs simultaneously in two countries and affects both countries’ interests. Such an incident may lead to a disagreement between those countries, as happened in this case.” The border agent was just doing his job when the incident happened.
It was determined as an international matter that he would not face charges or be sent to Mexico to stand trial for the shooting.
Justice Alito also stated that it was outside their realm to formulate a ruling in this case because the act of determining the solution fell into the hands of Congress who is supposed to handle all foreign affairs.
Therefore, the court will not overstep their authority and interject themselves into international matters. This issue is a matter of national security which is something the other branches of the government are supposed to handle.
To try to determine what behavior a border agent can have is seen as regulating what their role is. This would have serious implications for future incidents if the court was to allow the issue to fall into the Bivens arena.
It was also noted that Congress will not award any money to people against federal officials when the death happens outside the boundaries of the United States. The teen was on the side of Mexico when he was shot and killed.
Justice Thomas was in favor of doing away with Bevins as he would say that “the time has come to consider discarding the Bivens doctrine altogether.” It has been 40 years since the Bivens has been extended.
And Justice Ginsburg was concerned about implying United States law to other countries when she would state “Neither U.S. foreign policy nor national security is endangered by the litigation. Moreover, concerns attending the application of our law to conduct occurring abroad are not involved, for plaintiffs seek the application of U.S. law to conduct occurring inside our borders.”
The teen’s actions were unknown. He could have been playing a game, or he could have been testing the border agents. Either way, he had no business entering the country and then leaving the way he was doing it.
The border agent had to act for the safety of the country. There is no reason to believe that he shot the teen because it was part of the game. The teen was threatening the security of the country and the agent had no way of knowing the intentions of the kid.