Tension is building. Many in the U.S. think it is unjust, un-American, for a 25-year-old former Marine who fought for America to spend Memorial Day in a Mexican prison.
Now a rally has been announced on the border between the United States and Mexico for May 28 – the date of the next court hearing in Mexico for 25-year-old Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi.
He’s been in custody in Mexico since March 31 when the Weston, Florida, man made a wrong turn and, according to his story, inadvertently drove across the international border into Mexico.
The problem was he was carrying several guns in his vehicle, and charges were filed there for carrying a weapon intended for use by the military, carrying a weapon not registered in Mexico and possessing ammunition.
Officials of the planned event say the protest and rally on the border will be held to coincide with the court hearing, which hasn’t been announced for a specific time yet. Participants are coordinating through Facebook.
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has called for citizens to rise up in defense of the Marine’s freedom.
And international lender Brian Brady plans to attend.
“If both the Mexican government and the American government secured and marked the border, these problems could be avoided. The Mexican government should recognize the border signage problem (on both sides), warn Americans of their unique laws, and release Tahmooressi immediately,” he said.
The support for the Marine is bipartisan and broad.
Sam Whitfield of Junior Factor Nation is outraged.
“As a young American, it outrages me that politicians seem more interested in advancing a political agenda than helping our troops who have sacrificed so much. On behalf of the millennial generation, we are disgusted by our leaders but love our troops,” he said.
The #FreeOurMarine movement has support from coast to coast, and stretching across party lines.
“Some may perceive me as a liberal on FOX News in NYC, but partnerships created on fundamental American principles are bigger than political opinions. That’s why I have joined forces with West Coast conservative Dr. Gina Loudon and her bipartisan, bicoastal coalition to send a clear message to both the U.S. and Mexican governments that we will not stand down until Andrew Tahmooressi, our Marine who protected both Americans and Mexicans from terrorists abroad, is released from a Tijuana jail,” said Tamara Holder.
The Fox News contributor went further.
“It is sickening to know that our ‘neighbors’ to the south have chosen to prosecute a soldier who made an honest mistake and who suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We must put our political differences aside and stand together in an effort to #FreeOurMarine.”
“Where are the politicians inside the Beltway on this?” asked Lainie Sloane, who is planning to attend the protest. “We all say we are patriotic, but when the rubber meets the road, the men are quickly separated from the boys!”
John Loudon, a former state senator from Missouri now living in San Diego, California, stated, “Americans do not leave their own behind.”
He pointed to the losses of two Navy SEALs in Benghazi who were from San Diego, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty. He has a memorial tattoo on his arm to commemorate those he believes were left behind, and implores his government not to leave soldiers in harm’s way again. He plans to attend the protest rally on Wednesday.
Holder agreed. In an opinion piece she wrote for Fox News, she pointed out that while Tahmooressi was on the battlefield, he saved eight Marines from the Taliban. He also saved a Marine from bleeding to death after he stepped on an IED and lost his legs.
She also pointed out that “the Mexican government has chosen to criminally charge a member of our military who has no criminal record, who was not in possession of drugs or other illegal contraband, who was not engaged in suspicious activity that suggested his alignment with a cartel and who suffers from a serious yet treatable mental disorder. Tahmooressi was diagnosed with PTSD after fighting in an international war on terror aimed not only at protecting Americans, but also Mexicans.”
A lawyer herself, Holder points to the fact that most states require a hearing only 30 days after an arrest, but in this case, Tahooressi will have been held in Mexican prisons for almost two months on the date of his scheduled hearing, and the coalition’s protest on May 28.
Families celebrating on Memorial Day weekend are asked by the #FreeOurMarine Coalition to enjoy their weekend, but to remember to be at the border on Wednesday to fight for Tahmooressi’s freedom on the day of his hearing.
A coalition official said if the Marine already is free, “then it is a thank you celebration! We are hoping that the two governments can put any differences aside, as we have all done, to push for the release of this Marine. We also want to fully inform both governments that this kind of ill-treatment will never be tolerated by Americans even as the politicians show so little regard for these Americans.”
“We are not only imploring the Mexican government to free Sgt. Tahmooressi,” warned Assemblyman Tim Donnelly. “We are imploring our government to make it happen immediately.”
Tahmooressi explains he made a wrong turn while leaving a San Ysidro, California, parking lot on March 31 and was unable to avoid entering Mexico. Once across the border, he tried to turn around, and explained to Mexican customs what the issue was.
An attorney representing the Marine said, “One of the customs officials offered to escort him back across the border” but then that didn’t happen.