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Castro v. Cabrera

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

January 30, 2014

LAURA NANCY CASTRO; YULIANA TRINIDAD CASTRO, Individually and as Next Friend of C.A.G.; JESSICA GARCIA; RODRIGO SAMPAYO; ANA ALANIS, Plaintiffs--Appellants, TRINIDAD MURAIRA DE CASTRO, Appellant,
v.
ELISEO CABRERA, Defendant--Appellee

Page 596

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

For LAURA NANCY CASTRO, YULIANA TRINIDAD CASTRO, as next friend C. A. G., Individually and, JESSICA GARCIA, RODRIGO SAMPAYO, ANA ALANIS, TRINIDAD MURAIRA DE CASTRO, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Edward A. Stapleton, III, Esq., Stapleton & Stapleton, Brownsville, TX.

For ELISEO CABRERA, Defendant - Appellee: Sarah B. Fabian, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC.

Before STEWART, Chief Judge, JOLLY, and SMITH, Circuit Judges. STEWART, Chief Judge, concurring in the judgment.

OPINION

Page 597

JERRY E. SMITH, Circuit Judge:

Laura Castro, Yuliana Castro (individually and as next friend of C.A.G.), Jessica Garcia, Rodrigo Sampayo, Ana Alanis, and Trinidad de Castro (collectively " the detainees" ) brought Bivens claims[1] against Eliseo Cabrera alleging violations of their Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable seizures.[2] Cabrera, asserting qualified immunity, moved for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The district court granted Cabrera's motion to dismiss, and we affirm.

I.

There are three separate incidents of alleged misconduct and seven detainees. We therefore address separately the facts of each incident and group of detainees.

Page 598

A.

Trinidad de Castro is a Mexican citizen and the mother of Laura and Yuliana Castro, each of whom has a birth certificate from the United States and Mexico. Yuliana is the mother of the infant C.A.G. In August 2009, the Castros applied for entry at the original Brownsville & Matamoros International Bridge. Laura presented the border agents with a U.S. passport, Yuliana presented a Texas birth certificate, Texas identification card, the receipt for her U.S. passport, and the Texas birth certificate of C.A.G., and Trinidad presented her laser visa. Officer Cabrera noted that Yuliana's birth certificate reflected a midwife[3] birth and, finding that suspicious, took the Castros to secondary inspection, where Cabrera allegedly interrogated and threatened them during a detention of about ten hours.

Near the end of that time, Trinidad signed a statement that Yuliana and Laura had been born in Mexico. The Castros allege that that amounted to a false confession " [b]ased on threats, fear, hunger, exhaustion, and her inability to continue listening to the cries of her infant granddaughter, C.A.G., complicated by her own the [sic] delicate medical condition, and awareness of the medical vulnerability of the others." Based on the statement, Cabrera allegedly confiscated their documentation and denied all four entry into the United States, releasing them back to Mexico. No specific allegations were made in the pleadings regarding what constituted the alleged threats.

B.

Sampayo has birth certificates from the United States and Mexico. Although a midwife registered his birth in the United States several months after it occurred, he grew up in Mexico using his Mexican birth certificate and at one point even had a border crossing card issued by INS. In early 2009, however, he applied for a U.S. passport and was ...


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