Mexico Has No Standing to Sue to Protect Civil Rights of Its Citizens Working in the U.S.
Description Appeals court affirmed the dismissal of the government of Mexico from a suit brought against a farm in Maine that employed Mexican citizens and U.S. citizens of Mexican descent. Mexico joined the workers to assert that the employer had violated their civil rights. While the workers may sue, Mexico may not, as the parens patriae doctrine does not apply.
Topic International Law
Key Words Parens Patriae; Standing; NAFTA
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The government of Mexico sued DeCoster, who ran a large egg farm in Maine. The government claimed that he violated the civil rights of workers of Mexican descent, whether they were citizens of Mexico or the U.S. The suit was brought under the parens patriae doctrine. The district court dismissed the government as a party to the suit. The government appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Parens patriae means "parent of the country." This doctrine "creates an exception to normal rules of standing applied to private citizens in recognition of the special role that a State plays in pursuing its quasi-sovereign interests in 'the well being of its populace'." The doctrine does not apply here. "Parens patriae standing should not be recognized in a foreign nation unless there is a clear indication of intent to grant such standing expressed by the Supreme Court or by the two coordinate branches of government." The standing is not granted to a foreign nation "where only quasi-sovereign interests are at stake." The Supreme Court has made no such grant of standing nor has Congress and the Executive which control foreign policy and treaties. Since the individual workers may bring suit, including one paid for by the government of Mexico, they are not without legal protection.
Citation Estados Unidos Mexicanos v. DeCoster, 2000 WL 1477060 (1st Cir., 2000)

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