Former U.S. Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos embraced his wife, Monica Ramos, two days before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison (El Paso Times)
President Bush is coming under fire for presidential pardons yesterday that included forgiveness for drug smugglers, an embezzler and others, but not for jailed Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.
Ramos and Compean entered prison in January 2007 after a controversial ruling on their actions in apprehending a fleeing drug smuggler.
“I believe the president’s stolid refusal to pardon Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean is the most unconscionable act of disloyalty he has perpetrated upon those sworn to protect our well-being. I know this feeling is shared by many other patriotic Americans,” said Mychal Massie, chairman of Project 21 and a WND columnist. “This sends a disturbing signal to the men and women who protect our borders, not to mention how it must affect the morale of those serving overseas.”
On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos and Compean pursued Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila on foot after Aldrete-Davila abandoned a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $1 million. During the chase, Ramos shot at Aldrete-Davila in the belief that Aldrete-Davila had drawn a gun of his own. Aldrete-Davila escaped across the U.S.-Mexico border, and Ramos assumed Aldrete-Davila was unhurt. In fact, Aldrete-Davila had been shot in the buttock.
U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton later charged that Ramos and Compean violated Border Patrol policy by pursuing Aldrete-Davila without supervisor approval, moving spent shell casings and improperly reporting the fired shots. Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity to testify against the agents. Ramos and Compean were sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively. They are currently in solitary confinement in maximum-security prisons.
Agent Jose Compean (KFOX-TV)
The Ramos and Compean convictions have been questioned by many who point out that during the trial, jurors were not told of Aldrete-Davila’s continued drug trafficking, for which he has now been arrested and indicted. Jurors were also unaware that a fellow agent who testified against Ramos and Compean is a life-long friend of Aldrete-Davila – a violation of Border Patrol Policy in itself.
T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union, testified before the U.S. Senate that a medical examination of Aldrete-Davila supported the agents’ description of events and complied with Border Patrol and Justice Department policies.
The convictions of Ramos and Compean are currently on appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
“Leaving good cops behind bars is unconscionable,” said Massie. “President Bush can argue he is granting mercy only after sentences are served, but we cannot forget that he immediately commuted the sentence of his friend and political ally Scooter Libby. Similar clemency should be given to Ramos and Compean, if not a full pardon. If he refuses, we can only hope that the next president will not only do so but also treat our courageous border guards with the respect they deserve.”
Massie previously wrote about the Ramos and Compean case in a WND commentary titled, “You forgot 2, Mr. President!”