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Mexico Angry at U.S. for Exonerating Border Patrol Agent in the Shooting of an Illegal

El Paso, TX – The shooting of an illegal immigrant by a U.S. Border Patrol agent two years ago has prompted the Mexican government to make what amounts to a diplomatic threat to the United States. At issue is the fact the agent was exonerated for fatally shooting the illegal who assaulted him with rocks.

In the summer of 2010, Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa intercepted a group of Mexicans crossing the Rio Grande near El Paso. When the group begin pelting the agent with rocks, the agent shot into the group, killing Sergio Hernández-Guereca, The shooting was ruled an act of self defense.

The U.S. Department of Justice spent the last two years conducting what it termed a “comprehensive and thorough investigation into the shooting” in an effort to file federal criminal charges against the Border Patrol agent. But the DOJ conceded last week there was “insufficient evidence” to continue with federal criminal charges against Mesa.

In an official statement, a Department of Justice spokesman said: “The U.S. government regrets the loss of life in this matter, and the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security devoted significant time and resources into conducting a thorough and complete investigation.”

A probe into the incident cost the U.S. government thousands of man hours and several million dollars. The lengthy process was carried out by dozens of federal officers from the FBI, the Homeland Security Inspector General, and top prosecutors from the DOJ’s overblown Civil Rights Division.  Numerous law enforcement and civilian witnesses were interviewed and extensive forensic evidence was examined from the scene of the shooting. This included civilian and surveillance video, police radio traffic, emergency recordings, and volumes of Border Patrol agent training and use-of-force material.

Everything from Agent Mesa’s training to his disciplinary records and personal history was scrutinized. A team of top DOJ prosecutors examined the shooting as a possible violation of U.S. criminal and civil rights laws, but the incident did not meet the standard. Their final conclusion was that the “agent’s actions constituted a reasonable use of force or would constitute an act of self-defense in response to the threat created by a group of smugglers hurling rocks at the agent.”

It was also determined that federal civil rights charges could not be pursued because “applicable statutes require prosecutors to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a law enforcement officer willfully deprived an individual of a constitutional right.” Federal prosecutors and the FBI concluded that the evidence was insufficient.

In reaction to the decision, Mexican government officials have threatened to launch an international investigation. The Spanish-language news media presented the story as the exoneration of the American agent who assassinated a Mexican youth.

Mexico has also threatened to conduct its own investigation into the DOJ’s handling of the case and has warned the U.S. to assure that Mexicans’ fundamental rights are being respected. The teen’s family, which lives in Mexico, has sued Agent Mesa despite the DOJ’s decision not to criminally charge him.

The Department of Justice’s vigorous pursuit for conviction in the case is not isolated. The Justice Department is also working to bring charges against a San Diego-based U.S. Border Patrol agent for supposedly “kneeing and choking” an “unidentified alien” during a shift near the Mexican border over the summer.

In that case, the Feds are charging Border Patrol Agent Luis Fonseca with depriving the rights of the mystery illegal immigrant at the Border Patrol station in Imperial Beach, California last July. Based on the Department of Justice’s account, a federal grand jury indicted Fonseca on a single charge of deprivation of rights under color of law. The charge, a civil rights violation, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

In New York, an illegal immigrant with a lengthy criminal record received a $145,000 settlement from the state for having his civil rights violated during one of his many arrests. In Maryland, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador sued the sheriff’s department for unlawfully and unconstitutionally detaining her based on race and in California illegal aliens sued a city for banning them from seeking work on public streets.

Our nation is marked by recognition of basic rights to all people. At the same time, it seems the current administration is far more concerned about the “rights” of people illegally entering our country and breaking its laws than in the rights of duly appointed officers of the law doing the job they have been given to do.

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