Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, California Gov. Jerry Brown Fail to Discuss US Marine Held in Tijuana Jail During Visit
During Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's two-day-long visit to California this week, he failed to discuss U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been held in a Tijuana jail since April.
According to Fox News Latino, protestors stood across the street from a luncheon held for the president in Sacramento Tuesday. Around 150 attended the protest, carrying American flags and signs that said things like "FREE Sgt. Tahmooressi NOW!"
"The president is here and the governor could just say, 'Could you do me a favor?' But he refuses to," Edward Doolin, a protestor, told FNL.
Republican State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly helped unite the protestors.
"He wants something from Americans, but it would be a good first move strategically to give something to Americans," he said.
Tahmooressi was arrested by Mexican authorities on March 31 and sent to Tijuana's La Mesa State Prison after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in a truck with three registered firearms: a shotgun, a .45 caliber pistol and an AR-15. The marine claims he crossed the border by mistake as he made a wrong turn because there wasn't clear labeling. Tahmooressi was charged with possession of weapons and ammunition used by the Mexican military and faces about 10 years in prison.
"Neither [California] Gov. Brown nor Peña Nieto has spoken about this," Donnelly said. "Sgt. Tahmooressi has already served more time than most serious criminals do in California."
Brown invited Donnelly, as well as at least two additional Republican lawmakers, to the luncheon with the Mexican president, but they turned down the invitation to demonstrate their position.
"How you could visit Mexico and not publicly demand the release of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is beyond me," Donnelly said in a letter to Brown in reference to the governor's July visit to the country. "You had a great opportunity to demonstrate leadership by taking a stand for a California citizen that has put himself in harm's way for our freedom."
Some Republicans, on the other hand, disagreed with the protest.
"This is simply not the time to play politics when the well-being of this veteran's life hangs in the balance," Republican State Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, who is a former marine, explained.
"We do not need to stand on the street shouting the question when we can attend the lunch and ask the question directly," Assemblyman Don Wagner said in a statement.
Follow Scharon Harding on Twitter: @ScharHar.
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