Trump Administration Counters with a Stunning Reversal of Existing Protections for US Citizens Abroad.
WASHINGTON â€“ Attorney Robert Hilliard presented arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court today on behalf of the voiceless Mexican citizens victimized by excessive force at the hands of U.S. government agents. Representing the family of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca, who was gunned down while playing near the Mexican border by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Mr. Hilliard argued that the protections of the Constitutionâ€™s Fourth Amendment apply to noncitizens like Sergio, who are the victims of a U.S. agencyâ€™s excessive force.
In defense, Trump Administration officials argued that protections of the 4th Amendment do not only apply to non-US Citizens abroad, but do not apply to US Citizens abroad either. This overturns significant and existing policies protecting US Citizens abroad.
â€œAt the very first Supreme Court argument of the Trump administration his attorneys have reversed the Obama administrationâ€™s policy and told the Supreme Court that border patrol agents may shoot and kill US citizens who are standing feet across the border in Mexico and those US citizens have NO constitutional protections . Regardless of if the shooting is unprovoked.â€ said Attorney Robert Hilliard, Founding Partner of Hilliard, Munoz and Gonzales LLP and Attorney for the Hernandez family.
â€œThe Trump administration is saying that either the Constitution does not apply and therefore there is no remedy; or that the constitution applies but the judiciary cannot review the legitimacy of the killing at the behest of the victim's family. Either way, under the Trump Administration's radical view, the prohibition on arbitrary government killing of citizens abroad is dangerous and sends our country into unchartered and perilous territory. When the executive is not even willing to guarantee its own citizens the protection of their own constitution from US law enforcementâ€™s use of deadly force against them, then indeed no one is safe.â€ said Hilliard.
Hilliard's argument comes as tensions have escalated around the Trump administration's hard-line immigration stance, plans to build a border wall, and controversial travel ban. Recent ICE raids and reports of CBP agents refusing federal court orders have raised urgent questions about the Border Patrol under President Trump.
â€œThe executive branch should not be able to turn the Constitution on and off like a light switch. We cannot allow a law-free killing zone where the administration can kill Mexican nationals with impunity and no court may review the shooting,â€ said Hilliard.
Border agents have shot across the border and killed at least six Mexicans since 2006, according to government records. Mr. Hilliard filed suit on behalf of Sergioâ€™s family to ensure that the boyâ€™s tragic death would bring about significant reforms in the conduct of border agents.
â€œThe implications of this case are mind-boggling,â€ Hilliard continued. â€œIt is critical to have a clear rule, especially now that President Trump has said he will order more border agents and insist on a tougher attitude regarding our southern neighbor.â€
Full video of Mr. Hilliard's press conference can be seen below and is free for distribution. Synopsis of briefs, full briefs and Amicus briefs are available upon request.
To schedule an interview with Mr. Hilliard, please contact Outreach Strategists; Mustafa Tameez (281-236-5304) or Alim Adatia (832-605-5296).