by Joe Guzzardi | September 13, 2014 12:05 am
The only person in Mexico who can’t get into the United States is Marine Sergeant Andrew P. Tahmooressi. Others can just walk in, surrender to a Border Patrol Agent, claim fear of persecution, be reunited with their illegal alien families and demand amnesty.
Sgt. Tahmooressi has no such luck. For the better part of six months, Tahmooressi has been held in a Mexican jail including a stretch at one of its most notorious prisons El Hongo, a maximum security facility controlled by drug lords and reserved for murderers, rapists and cartel hit men.
On April 1, Mexican authorities arrested and then jailed Tahmooressi on alleged weapons charges after he made a wrong turn that inadvertently landed him in Mexico. During his confinement Tahmooressi, likely singled out for inhumane treatment simply because he’s American, has been stripped, shackled and beaten.
Despite the enormous leverage President Obama, the world’s most powerful man, and Governors Jerry Brown and Chris Christie have, none during their recent diplomatic exchanges with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto used their influence to urge Mexico to release Tahmooressi. Last month, Brown and Christie traveled to Mexico to visit Pena Nieto. In turn, Pena Nieto toured California. Despite multiple sit downs with Pena Nieto, neither Brown nor Christie even mentioned Tahmooressi’s name.
Brown’s open-armed embrace of Pena Nieto, joined by a delegation of several Mexican states’ governors and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, was especially galling. The Mexican president used his California trip to encourage more illegal immigration through expanded border crossing services and expedited consular facilities. Garcetti, speaking Spanish, announced his plan to declare 2017 the “year of Mexico” in Los Angeles. Brown took Pena Nieto’s bait. Effusively, Brown invited all Mexicans to come to California even if they enter unlawfully. Since Tahmooressi is an American, he’s not included in Brown’s expansive, politically motivated gesture.
While discussing Tahmooressi’s imprisonment is taboo for U.S. politicians, Mexico’s president had no trouble insulting Americans who think illegal immigration should end. Bashing other (unnamed) states for not being as “evolved” as California and chastising them for “exclusion, discrimination and for rejecting diversity,” Pena Nieto made a thinly veiled threat that sovereignty-minded Americans’ “ethical mistake” will have consequences.
Considering that the United Nations Human Rights Commission has identified Mexico as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for those who enter illegally, Pena Nieto’s remarks are breathtakingly hypocritical. One U.N. Human Rights representative who observed conditions at Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala said aliens are routinely subject to guards’ use of violence, sexual assault and extortion.
Earlier this summer, Obama traded five Taliban-affiliated Guantanamo prisoners for a possible U. S. Army defector, Bowe Bergdahl, and then suggested that America doesn’t leave its soldiers behind, a claim that obviously doesn’t include Tahmooressi.
Discouraging is the most tactful way to describe the refusal of two of the nation’s most powerful politicians, Obama and Brown, to intervene on Tahmooressi’s behalf. Tahmooressi’s family created a website and collected 130,000 signatures, 30,000 more than the minimum to ensure that it would be delivered to Obama and get an official statement from him. Instead, Tahmooressi’s mother Jill got an automatic computer-generated letter, a greater insult than no reply at all.
If nothing else, Obama should consider the good will he’d generate if he acted swiftly and firmly to free Tahmooressi. The president badly needs any boost he can get in the court of public opinion.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected].
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