The Reach of the Constitution at the Border

2/23/2017 New York Times

lawWhen a 15-year-old boy named Sergio Hernández Guereca was shot to death by a United States border agent in 2010, he was crouching behind a concrete pillar a few steps inside the Mexican border. Had he been on American soil, there’s no question constitutional principles could be invoked in seeking justice for his death. Should those principles not apply because he was standing on the other side of the border?

That was the question the Supreme Court considered on Tuesday, during oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by Sergio’s parents, who believe they should have a right to get justice for his killing.

The court’s decision in this case could have implications for President Trump’s travel ban, which targets noncitizens who are outside the country.

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Mexico homicides jump by a third amid cartel infighting

2/21/2017 Reuters

Mexican Police catch drug dealer photo by Jesús Villaseca P Latitudes PressHomicides in Mexico jumped by more than a third in January, new figures showed, fueled by violence in states hit by an internal split in the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Murders were up by more than half in the northern states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, according to official figures dated Monday. In Baja California there were almost 50 percent more.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the powerful boss of the Sinaloa cartel, was extradited to the United States last month and is currently in a New York jail awaiting trial.

That power vacuum has led to an internal power struggle in the cartel, causing gang violence to surge in northern Mexico, Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos said earlier this month.

Mexico’s government is focused on handling its largest diplomatic crisis for years, as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens America’s southern neighbor with a border tax, deportations and a wall to keep out illegal immigrants.

In total, there were 1,938 homicides in January, up 34 percent from 1,442 in the same month last year.

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Almost 500 Military Deaths Since Start of Mexico’s Drug War

2/21/2017 InSight Crime

military-in-juarez Military Checkpoint in Juarez[/caption]

Mexico’s defense secretary says nearly 500 military personnel have been killed since the start of the country’s drug war a decade ago, an alarmingly high figure that nonetheless pales in comparison to the huge number of civilian casualties over the same period.

A recent report by the National Defense Secretariat (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional – SEDENA) counted 496 deaths of military officers during anti-narcotics operations since December 2006, when newly-elected President Felipe Calderón ushered in a more aggressive approach to combating the country’s drug cartels.

El Universal, which did a comprehensive analysis of the report, found that shootouts were the most common cause of death, accounting for 249 of the cases. Vehicular accidents were a distant second (111), while airplane crashes came in third (50).

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US Border Patrol shooting of Mexican national goes to Supreme Court

2/21/2017 CNN

Supreme Court US by Flikr user dbkingThe Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the case of a 15-year-old Mexican national who was shot to death in 2010 as he cowered behind a pillar in Mexico, by a US Border Patrol agent standing on American soil.

The family of Sergio Hernandez is seeking to sue the border official for their son’s death. They say the agent violated Hernandez’s constitutional rights.

The violent shooting was caught on cell phone video and sparked outrage because fact that Hernandez was unarmed.
This is the first case the Supreme Court heard under the new administration and comes as President Donald Trump’s policies concerning his executive order on immigration have raised questions about the constitutional rights of non-citizens. Another backdrop is the tense relations between the Trump administration and Mexico over the issue of building a wall between the two countries.

Top U.S. Diplomat, Security Chief to Visit Mexico Wednesday

2/21/2017 New York Times

tillerson-public-domainWASHINGTON — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Mexico this week along with the Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to discuss issues including border security with the southern neighbor amid frayed relations under new U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tillerson and Kelly will meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other top Mexican officials during the two-day visit on Wednesday and Thursday, the State Department said in a statement.

They will discuss border security, law enforcement and trade, the State Department said.

The Feb. 22-23 visit comes amid tensions between the United States and Mexico since Trump took office on Jan. 20.

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US Warns of CJNG Expansion from Mexico

2/21/2017 InsightCrime

mexico_cartels_-01-25-2017American officials are reporting that the Jalisco Cartel – New Generation (CJNG) has expanded its trafficking operations in the United States, marking an important evolution in the modus operandi of the growing criminal organization.

As reported by Proceso, the CJNG has used its growing presence in Juárez to boost its participation in US markets for cocaine and heroin. This marks a change in direction for the group whose prominence in Mexico has risen sharply over the past five years, but whose international forays seemed to be mostly limited to trafficking to Europe.

The Proceso report squares with other recent indications from US authorities. In its 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment, published in November, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that the CJNG was one of the six Mexican organizations with the greatest presence in the United States. It has set up distribution hubs in Los Angeles and Atlanta, and also operates in far-flung cities such as Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco, and even Roanoke, Virginia. The most recent assessment reflects an increased presence relative to prior DEA reports.

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Report Finds Major Flaws in Proposals to Further Militarize Mexico’s Drug War

2/15/2017 InSight Crime 

drug warA Senate report on recent proposals that apparently aim to regulate the role of Mexico’s military in public security has concluded that the draft legislation would only grow the responsibility of the armed forces in the fight against organized crime.

The congressional study of different versions of the Internal Security Law that have been proposed by senators or deputies from three of the main political parties in Mexico also evaluates ten years of the country’s drug war that has resulted in at least 100,000 deaths, a myriad of human rights abuses and an overall increase in violence.

The authors point out an important fact: that after a decade of a militarized drug war there is still no adequate public data or evaluation of the military’s role in the campaign against organized crime. Neither, they claim, is there solid evidence available to explain why the Federal Police and the gendarmerie, a new militarized police force created by President Enrique Peña Nieto, are insufficient tools for fighting organized crime without support from the armed forces.

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