SAN DIEGO – For weeks, the mother of a U.S. Marine who made a wrong turn at the Mexican border and ended up over the international boundary has waited for President Obama to respond to a petition on behalf of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25.
Even though the threshold for a response of 100,000 signatures at a White House petition website was reached.
In fact, the number of signatures was surging past 130,000.
So when the question of presidential intervention in Tahmooressi’s case was posed to White House press secretary Josh Earnest, hopes were raised again.
But only briefly.
“My heart is breaking,” said Jill Tahmooressi, the sergeant’s mother, who has been working on his behalf since he was detained in Mexico for having several weapons in his vehicle.
The weapons are legal in the United States but not Mexico, and he was detained when he inadvertently crossed over the boundary in late March. He’s been behind bars there since.
“President Obama allowing this honorable, decorated Marine to be held hostage in a jail in Mexico. … I just don’t understand why he would dismiss one of our own being held in a Mexican prison, alone, in need to treatment for injuries he suffered while fighting for U.S. When are they going to fight for him?” Jill Tahmooressi said.
See the question at the White House:
A reporter asked about the possibility of intervention by Obama, and Earnest said: "The response is still pending. I'm going to reserve judgment until we're ready to respond to that."
Jill Tahmooressi said: "This isn't the first time a reporter has asked about this in a daily White House press briefing. Multiple times in the early-mid part of May the question of securing Andrews' freedom was asked. Typically the press secretary responded, 'That is a private matter.' Andrew signed a privacy notice permitting the White House to comment yet still they have 'no comment.'"
She continued: "On May 21 John Kerry said they have 'raised the issue.' I find that offensive. That, in fact, infuriates me! My son is more than an 'issue.' Andrew is a grave, urgent, serious concern. The fact that the president has totally ignored him is so offensive and wrong. This situation is urgent! He is a decorated military hero who screened positive for PTSD in San Diego in March and requires treatment."
She said it seems the American government "doesn't care" and the Mexican government isn't much better.
Authorities there could have dismissed the entire thing, and Andrew "would be home by now," she said.
She said Americans can help by visiting the AndrewFreedomFund.com site.
"And we also need help contacting government officials," she said. "We are so thrilled that so many have signed the Whitehouse.gov petition, but we still have no response from the White House at all. So now we have House Resolution 620. … If people could call their congressman and ask them to sponsor and sign on to that resolution, that would be helpful."
She said her "whole street is filled with yellow ribbons for Andrew and it makes me feel so good every time I see it. Americans have been so supportive, and some days that is what keeps Andrew and me both going."
She also said, regarding the protests on her son's behalf, that she really can't comment on what people should do.
"I have to be sensitive to my son being held captive. You know? You can understand that. … But I can say that I am sure glad we have a First Amendment in the U.S. that allows private citizens to act privately. I respect that right. I believe in individual freedom. I believe in individual activism."
The next hearing for the sergeant in the Mexican court system is Aug. 4.
WND reported just days ago on Andrew Tahmooressi's time behind Mexican jail bars, as he described to WND in an interview.
He told WND he trusts God for his future – but he'd also like an answer from Obama.
WND has reported Tahmooressi, who has served as a Marine reservist in two overseas combat tours of duty in Afghanistan, said he was driving near the Mexican border and got caught in a traffic lane that did not allow him to return to the U.S.
Tahmooressi said he stopped immediately, explained to Mexican authorities the mistake and asked to return to the U.S. While he said he would have likely been allowed to return, Mexican military officials got involved and ordered him detained.
In an interview from his Mexican jail cell, Tahmooressi confirmed that the U.S. State Department has not contacted him, nor has he been able to talk with them.
He said Americans "could help me by continuing to raise awareness, continue to sign the petition to try to get a response from the president."
"And prayer," he said. "Prayer always helps."