During the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America there were a couple of times when we traveled very close to the US border with Mexico. As a matter of fact, some of our riders spotted a person illegally entering as we departed Douglas, AZ heading to the New Mexico border – and US Border Patrol was simply observing.
I say this as a backdrop for the recent travails of a US Marine, now being held in a Mexican jail. According to Fox News, Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a 25-year-old combat veteran, was jailed in late March after he missed a freeway exit near San Ysidro, Calif., and drove into Tijuana, where Mexican authorities discovered he had three guns in his car. Although the guns were legally owned in the United States, and Tahmooressi said he had no intention of traveling to Mexico, he’s been jailed for more than a month.
Proceedings against Tahmooressi are scheduled for May 28, though U.S. lawmakers are urging them to be expedited and for all charges to be dropped. The active US Marine reservist, who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, including a 2010 stint in the violent Marjah district, was moving from Florida to San Diego with a Marine friend to be close to his treatment center for his post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of his arrest.
On Monday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services committee, asked Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to suspend military aid to Mexico, including training, intelligence cooperation and equipment transfers until the case is resolved.
So here’s the simple question: why couldn’t the Mexican authorities have just turned Sgt. Tahmooressi around and told him “Vaya con Dios y buenos dias?” This of course is not the first time this has happened.
What I do find ironic is that Sgt. Tahmooressi sits in jail in Mexico while as the Daily Caller reported yesterday, “Nearly 200 murderers, over 400 rapists, and 300 kidnappers in the U.S. illegally were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while awaiting deportation proceedings, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies. A total of 36,007 criminal illegal immigrants that were being processed for deportation were freed in 2013. Together, they committed nearly 88,000 crimes, according to the report, published Monday.”
So I ask you, what message does this send to Sgt. Tahmooressi and his family? Whose life means more, an American Marine or criminal illegal immigrants?