Confused about Border Policy? Ask Sgt. Tahmooressi

By | February 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

The first requirement of a border policy is that it keep America safe. The second requirement is that it be fair to prospective immigrants. On the first requirement, many “progressives” would disagree. But we all can agree on fairness.

The essence of fairness is that everyone will be treated alike, according to the same rules. Some conservatives point out that Mexico has no border patrol, but uses the army and military police to patrol the border. Of course, if we used the U.S. Army and Military Police for a similar purpose, liberals and many conservatives would yell themselves hoarse in protest.

Rather than dealing with Mexico’s southern border, which affects the United States only indirectly because of the caravans, let us discuss Mexico’s border with the United States, which is directly relevant. How Mexico treats unwanted American immigrants reveals what would be a fair way for America to treat unwanted immigrants who enter from Mexico. Not necessarily the right way, but the fair way.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, USMCR.

Sgt. Tahmooressi was sent an order to report for further training. However, he was unable to comply. You see, he resided in a Mexican prison, where he rotted for 214 days. But if he did not report, he could have been given a dishonorable discharge, making him ineligible for Veterans Affairs health care. Have a nice day.

Were it not for the tireless reporting of Greta Van Susteren, and the financial aid of then-candidate Donald Trump, Sgt. Tahmooressi might still be in the Mexican prison. That is, if he survived the poor conditions there, which reportedly drove him to attempt suicide. President Obama did what might be expected of him ‒ nothing.

The reason 25-year-old Sgt. Tahmooressi was in prison is that he made a wrong turn exiting a parking lot. He left his car in the lot at the end of Interstate 5, then walked over the border to visit Tijuana for a day. That evening, he returned to his car and planned to drive back to San Diego. I have parked in that lot and can attest to the problem he had.

When I exited the lot, I wanted to go left – north – back to San Diego. But it was still daylight, and I saw this sign, so I counter-intuitively turned right, looped around, and went in my intended direction. But when Sgt. Tahmooressi exited the lot, it was already dark, the sign was not illuminated, and the “No USA return” section was partially covered with graffiti. So he intuitively turned left and found himself at the Mexican border – with no way to turn around.

Who laid out this mess – the Three Stooges? At the very least, the sign should be larger, illuminated at night, and high enough that it would be difficult to paint over with graffiti. And there should be an easily accessible U-turn lane on Interstate 5 just before the border. How many others were caught in the same dilemma as Sgt. Tahmooressi?

When he arrived at the border crossing, he told Mexican customs agents that he wanted to return to the USA, and that he had three legally owned guns in his trunk. After prolonged discussion, the Mexicans denied his request, arrested him for gun possession – which is illegal in Mexico – and took him to jail. He was not charged with smuggling, because he told the agents there were guns in the trunk. But he still spent many months in jail awaiting trial, and would then be tried by a judge without a jury, and might wind up in prison for years.

Any fool would understand that Sgt. Tahmooressi committed no crime, and should have been allowed to turn around. Any fool would comprehend that if Mexican authorities did not allow this, American authorities – up to President Obama – should have demanded that they do so.

Contrast President Obama’s total inaction on behalf of Sgt. Tahmooressi, with his successful efforts on behalf of Bowe Bergdahl. Bergdahl didn’t accidentally take a wrong turn. No, he intentionally deserted his unit and defected to the Taliban. But even the Taliban didn’t want him. On his release, the Army charged him with desertion and misbehavior in the presence of the enemy, the penalty for which is death or life in prison.

In fact, Bergdahl was sentenced to reduction in rank, a fine, and a dishonorable discharge. In fact, President Obama staged a press event in the Rose Garden, where he praised himself for exchanging Guantanamo terrorists for Bergdahl. To top off this tragic farce, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) praised the deserter as an “American hero.” Murphy was wrong on both counts.

Sgt. Tahmooressi served two tours in Afghanistan and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He received a battlefield promotion to sergeant while serving as the .50 caliber machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee. President Obama owed him. Secretary of State Kerry owed him. We all owed him.

But except for Greta and Trump, little was done. Tahmooressi’s release came only after pressure from former Gov. Bill Richardson (D) of New Mexico and Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ). If we couldn’t stand up for a combat Marine who made a wrong turn and faced years in a Mexican prison, in what sense are we still a nation, and not just a place we happen to be living at the moment? In what sense are we a people, and not just a mob, each with his own agenda?

So what can we learn from this sad tale?

● Some people blather endlessly about their care and sympathy for the “ordinary guy.” But when a real guy gets into serious trouble, they risk dislocating their jaws from yawning in indifference.

● Some people babble interminably about how they “support our troops.” But they condemn most of what the troops do. And given a choice, they support a deserter but desert a genuine American hero.

● Some people prattle incessantly about “fairness” to immigrants. But if we treated unwanted immigrants coming from Mexico the same way Mexicans treat an unwanted American crossing their border ‒ even accidentally ‒ these people would howl in anger, calling us “fascists” or even “Nazis.” They would haul us before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, accusing us of “crimes against humanity.”

● Some people bray ceaselessly about their love for all humanity. But they spend all their love on strangers, to whom they owe nothing, but have no love left for their own troops, to whom they owe everything.

● Some people chant, “No borders, no wall, no U.S.A. at all.” That really says it all.

These people may call themselves “progressives” or “liberals,” but in fact they are colossal ingrates. Their empathy is like a doughnut, with a hole in the center. They have empathy for all the others, but none for their own.

Am I saying that America should treat unwanted immigrants coming across the Mexican border the same way Mexico treated Sgt. Tahmooressi? Not at all.

But I am saying that it is morally wrong to call a deserter an “American hero” and honor him in the Rose Garden, while leaving Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi to rot in a Mexican prison.

And I am saying that allowing the U.S.-Mexican border to be porous and leaky in a northward direction, but impervious and uncompromising in a southward direction, is the very antithesis of fairness.

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