Now is Bob Menendez’ chance to stand up for human rights

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In the book he wrote, Growing American Roots“, Senator Bob Menendez writes movingly about the plight of illegal immigrants detained in the United States for some “minor” violations, such as identity fraud. Menendez devotes an entire chapter of his book to this, which he titles: “Humane Treatment - The Only Worthy Solution”. He begins the chapter with this quotation from Cicero:

Justice consists in doing no injury to men;

decency in giving them no offense.”

Senator Menendez writes of the “harsh tactics and cruel conditions facing undocumented workers” in the United States.

Okay Senator, I will take you at your word that you are the humanitarian that you claim to be. If every person is deserving of human respect simply because they are a person - regardless of their skin tone, ethnicity, language, religion, political affiliation, preference in music or sports teams, or the dozen other silly things that people use to form up into groups to fight other people - then here is a case for you of a human being in need of your help. You probably read about him in the New York Daily News:

An ex-Marine who survived dangerous patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan is now “chained to a bed” in a notorious Mexican prison after a road trip to Costa Rica went terribly wrong, his friends and family say.

A chorus of supporters are calling on the Mexican government to release Jon Hammar, 27, who was jailed in August for carrying an antique shotgun that he believed could be legally registered in Mexico.

Hammar, of Palmetto Bay, Fla., was headed to Costa Rica for a surfing trip to try and recover from post-traumatic stress after four years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The only time Hammar is not losing his mind is when he’s on the water,” fellow Marine veteran Ian McDonough, who was arrested with Hammar during the August incident but later released by Mexican authorities, told McClatchy newspapers.

Hammar and McDonough had stocked up a used Winnebago with surfboards and camping supplies and had just crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas into Matamoros, Mexico, where they were detained.

Hammar had registered the shotgun, a Sear & Roebuck model that once belonged to his great-grandfather, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on the U.S. side of the border.

After being told by U.S. agents the shotgun posed no problem and could be registered in Mexico, Hammar and McDonough crossed the border, tried to declare the weapon, and found themselves separated and behind bars.

“The crux of it is the length of the barrel,” his mother, Olivia Hammar, 46, told Reuters. “There’s an old law on the books that says it can’t be under 25 inches…It’s a 2-foot barrel…It’s strictly a technicality.”

“It’s a glorified BB gun,” she said.

In his book, Senator Menendez writes about a federal immigration raid on a meatpacking plant in 2008. He called the raid an “outrage” and “beyond all bounds of decency”.

Okay Senator, what do you think of this report by the New York Daily News:

McDonough, who has Argentine residency in addition to his U.S. citizenship, was freed a few days after the Aug. 13 arrest and walked back to Brownsville.

But the nightmare was just beginning for Hammar, who on Aug. 20 was charged with carrying a deadly weapon and placed in a prison known as CEDES in Matamoros, a notorious facility heavily populated, and run, by Mexico’s dangerous drug cartels.

His parents have even received late night phone calls saying he would be killed if they failed to make thousands of dollars in payments into a Western Union account.

“He was housed in a wing controlled by the drug cartel,” said Eddie Varon-Levy, a Mexican lawyer hired by the family. He told Reuters the charges in Mexico appear to be an effort to “make an example out of the gringo.”

The Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C. did not immediately respond to a request from the Daily News about Hammar’s case or why he wasn’t turned back at the border.

After receiving the death and extortion threats, Hammar’s family made frantic calls to U.S. diplomats who were able to get the former Marine temporarily placed in solitary confinement.

Okay Senator, here is your chance to do good for a fellow human being. No, he isn’t a foreign citizen illegally here in the United States. He’s an American with a legal problem in a foreign country. More importantly, he is a fellow human being.

Why not do the decent thing and stand up for him and give this person and his family some hope for the holidays?

Please call on the Mexican government to ensure this American Marine’s safety and his human rights are protected and maintained while in their custody.

Please ask the Mexican government to ensure the speedy adjudication of his case.

Please ask the Mexican government to ensure that his confinement is not used as a means for criminals to extort money from his family.

What has happened is an outrage and decency demands that you act.

How about you, Governor Christie? This is a chance for you to do some good too. Ask the legislature to send a letter to the Mexican government about this. Let them know how you and the elected representatives of all the people of New Jersey feel about this. Give this American Marine and his family some hope for the holidays.

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One Comment

  1. Mr.& Mrs Robert Pasteure says:

    You public servants in the senate and house better do a lot to get the American Marine being illegaly held in Mexico.We dont need any of our Americans abused by the lousy corrupt third world countrys below ours. Whats the matter with you Menendez ,does this marine have to be hispanic for you to do something ?


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