Families of Teens Killed by Border Patrol Need $5K to Attend Supreme Court Arguments of Their Cases

Lead Photo: A patch on the uniform of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images
A patch on the uniform of a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images
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A GoFundMe campaign is raising money for the parents of Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, a 15-year-old Mexican boy who was fatally shot by a U.S. border agent, to attend the oral arguments in a Supreme Court case involving the teen’s death.

On November 12, the highest court of the land will decide whether the parents of Hernández, who was shot in the head by border guard Jesus Mesa Jr. on June 7, 2010 while he was playing a game with friends in the dry bed of the Rio Grande, could sue the patrol in federal court.

If Hernández had been shot on the U.S. side of the border, his family could take the officer to court under Bivens v. Six Unknown Unnamed Agents, a famous case that ensures people who are injured by law enforcement agents can vindicate their rights by suing under the Constitution for monetary damages. However, because the boy was on the Mexican side of the border, the ruling does not presently apply. This month, the justices will decide if the case can be employed during events where a rogue U.S officer in the country violates the constitutional rights of a foreign national outside of the U.S.

Hoping for the family of the victim to be present during Supreme Court oral arguments, the Justice for José Antonio Coalition is raising money to fly relatives to Washington, DC. With a goal of $5,500, they hope to generate enough funds needed to cover visa and passport costs, flights, ground transportation, lodging and meals. At the time of writing, the group has raised nearly $3,000.

In addition to sending Hernández’s mother, Guadalupe Güereca, to the capital, the funds will also help bring Taide Zojo and Araceli Rodríguez, the grandmother and mother, respectively, of fellow slain teen José Antonio Elena Rodríguez.

On October 10, 2012, the 16-year-old Mexican boy was shot 16 times and killed in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz, who was standing on grounds in Nogales, Arizona. The officer, who, like Mesa, has not been held accountable for the killing, said he shot at the teen because he was throwing rocks at law enforcement.

“As family members of Border Patrol victims and community organizers continue to demand justice, we need your help to hold U.S. state agents accountable for their systematic abuse of power against our communities,” reads the GoFundMe page.

While in the U.S., the relatives of both teenagers also hope to publicly tell their stories in cities along the East Coast.

Any additional funds raised through the campaign will be split between the families.