SAN DIEGO.- Rep. Duncan Hunter has made an appeal to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging his intervention in Andrew Tahmooressi’s case. Like Tahmooressi, Hunter is also a marine veteran.
Hunter stated: "This is not the first time Mexican authorities have put a young Marine in jail; we have to get to the bottom of this and stop it from happening in the future."
The Congressman is correct; this is not the first time a marine has been jailed for entering Mexico with illegal weapons, and likely will not be the last. Marines have been caught bringing weapons into Mexico before, and have been put through Mexico’s justice system — just like any other civilian — facing very serious charges and very strict sentences.
Here is a provable fact about current border dynamics: drugs come this way; guns go that way. It is a simple, yet devastating, reality.
The Mexican justice system does not view veteran status as any sort of Get out of Jail Free card, but this case — which seems like it would be a matter of waiting for justice to take its course — is garnering the attention of government officials as well as laymen and the media. His mother has gone to various sources asking for help and is currently circulating an online petition, which she hopes will reach 100,000 signatures.
Tahmooressi’s mother, Jill, says that his case has made no progress, and that he has not been given due process. She continued by saying that she has read an interview he granted from his cell to the San Diego Union Tribune, and found everything to be factual, but she told her son to not speak about the case further, adding that he “is too vulnerable, both mentally and physically” and is “not to be exploited.”
Hunter’s letter stated that Tahmooressi "was recently admitted to the prison infirmary with a reported knife wound to his neck." People who have been following the case now know that this is not the truth, rather Tahmooressi received brief medical attention for a self-inflicted wound to the neck, which he reportedly used a piece of glass light bulb to inflict upon himself. This later led to his forced restraint, to apparently prevent him from harming himself further.
In Hunter’s letter to the Secretary of State he wrote that Tahmooressi has “served his country faithfully as a U.S. Marine and he is owed the same commitment by the U.S. government in return."
People have been highly sympathetic of his situation, which is understandable considering that he is a Purple Heart recipient who suffers from PTSD. This veteran, who is currently incarcerated in Tijuana, hopes to see his prompt release and has received all levels support, unlike other veterans who similarly feel trapped in Tijuana against their will. On April 21, 70 year–old decorated Army veteran Sergeant Hector Manuel Barrios — a disabled deportee, who served in Vietnam and suffered lifelong injuries without any VA medical benefits — died in Tijuana, where he was honored by a group of deported U.S. veterans, who gave him full Military Funeral Honors.
Barrios is just one of the thousands of veterans who have served their “country faithfully” and are “owed the same commitment by the U.S. government in return." Groups like Banished Veterans and the Deported Veterans Support House have been formed for exactly the purpose of fighting for the rights of deported veterans —many of whom don’t speak Spanish — who have served the country faithfully and have been completely abandoned by their government and labeled as criminals. “We volunteered. We put our life on the line. We did what normal Americans don’t do. They’re betraying us,” deported veteran, Alex Murillo, said.
Jill Tahmooresi said, “He’s fighting for his freedom. He’s fighting for his life and he needs his country now.” She is concerned for her son’s safety. According to Mexican officials, Tahmooressi has committed a crime and is therefore subject to their legislation, and will be dealt with accordingly, to fulfill their duty to public safety. The call for U.S. intervention in this case, and the voluntary involvement of U.S. representatives and government servants is very interesting to note, considering their total silence when it comes to U.S. veterans who have not been implicated in crimes, yet have received zero assistance from government agencies and been effectively banned from the countries they have known and fought to defend.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, while speaking publically about Tahmooressi’s case, said: "What I'd like to do is take some of the Marines at this golf tournament, go across the border and get him out of jail.. it's not that easy, as we know.”