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10 Jun, 2010 20:51

Mexican teen killed in Mexico by US Border Patrol

An armed standoff at the US-Mexico border near El Paso, Texas has left a 14-year old Mexican teenager dead.

Sergio Hernandez Huereca was shot to death from across the Rio Grande River while in Juarez, Mexico by a US Border Patrol agent.

Recent deaths at the border have heightened tensions in US-Mexico relations.

Right now there is this tension; there is this sense of violence, institutional violence. I would say people are afraid, but also people are extremely upset,” said Fernando Garcia, a representative from the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Texas.

This is the second case in the past two weeks in which a Mexican national has died at the hands of US Border Patrol Agents, and there have been about 17 cases of Mexicans shot or injured by agents thus far in 2010 alone, said Garcia.

The armed standoff that followed between US Border Patrol agents and members of the Mexican military at the border ended without the use of armed fire between the two groups. Garcia said that tensions are indeed increasing, but that he did not expect an international conflict to erupt.

Both sides have shown a certain degree of restraint and to not create an international conflict,” said Garcia.

However, the killing of Huereca was an international incident since the teenager was shot and killed while on the Mexican side of the border.

The teenager was in a group of young people who were either playing around the border area or trying to cross the border. He was allegedly throwing rocks at a Border Patrol agent who stopped and opened fire on the group. Video evidence shows no real and imminent danger, giving no reason for the agent to use lethal force. The video does not show that rocks were indeed thrown or that the agent was hit by any rocks.

US President Barack Obama announced last month that the US National Guard will soon join the enforcement effort on the US-Mexico border.

I believe they will be a part of the problem, also. The National Guard in our opinion was not needed. El Paso is the second safest city in the country of its size. In bringing the National Guard, it’s just an artificial solution. We might have more tension,” said Garcia.

Garcia argues that enforcement is not the only solution and that Obama and the US Congress need to seriously address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform to solve this growing problem.