The mother of a South Florida Marine reservist who is being detained in Mexico for bringing weapons into the country is holding a protest outside the Mexican Consulate in Miami Monday.
Jill Tahmooressi, mother of reservist Andrew Tahmooressi, is trying to put on pressure for his release following his arrest last month.
"What Cinco de Mayo stands for is liberty, unity, and democracy," Jill said. "And together, the United States can together have a unionized voice asking for an "expedited" process of Andrew's case.
Andrew, 25, was arrested April 1 after driving his black Ford pickup into Tijuana at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, near south San Diego. The Weston native was in possession of three U.S.-registered firearms when he got lost near the border after dark and took a wrong turn into Mexico, his family said.
"I think it's totally unfair to have somebody make a mistake because of the signage over on the other side of the border and then to accidentally cross over and be stuck in jail," said family friend Rick Finale.
Tahmooressi, who was in the San Diego area to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, is shackled to a cot with his limbs restrained following an escape attempt at the La Mesa penitentiary, his mother said.
"He's been there fighting for uor freedoms and now we need him home so he can enjoy his freedom," said Andrew's uncle, Steven Sutton.
Elected officials from South Florida and California, including Congressman Duncan Hunter, have also been pressuring for Tahmooressi's release. To date, U.S. officials have visited Tahmooressi at least nine times since his arrest.
On May 28, border officials are expected to give a statement about the case to a judge. In the meantime, a WhiteHouse.gov petition has been posted to demand his release and a Facebook page -- "Free USMC Sgt Tahmooressi from Mexican Jail" -- has also been set up to support the soldier.
Jill met with the Consulate General of Mexico expressing outrage over the wait.
"He said that I needed to be patient, that there would be due process for Andrew, but he was going to reach out to the foreign minister to make sure that it was being expeditiously processed," Jill said of her meeting with the Consulate General.
Jill said she has not heard from the White House as of yet and said she won't stop fighting for Andrew's release until he's on his way back home.
The petition Tahmooressi started needs 100,000 signatures by the end of the month to get a response from the White House.