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“Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, they’re free at last!”

That’s how I am feeling today about the last-minute decision by President Bush to commute the sentences of Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

The significance of the date, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was not lost on me.

The continued incarceration of these two men represented nothing less than a human rights abuse – a miscarriage of justice perpetrated at the highest levels of our government in broad daylight.

A month ago, as President Bush’s term began running out, and as he began issuing pardons to other less worthy individuals, I decided something had to be done for Ramos and Compean.

When I thought about their case, I was gripped with a passionate rage. When I thought about those men suffering in their private little hell, I couldn’t sleep at night. When I thought about their wives and children, I would get short of breath. When I thought about what their fate said about justice in America, tears would fill my eyes.

So I decided to launch a petition to free Ramos and Compean.

It was late. The agents had already served two years of their sentences of between 11 and 12 years. There were other petition campaigns out there. There were a thousand reasons why our effort would prove unsuccessful. Nevertheless, I believed the Ramos and Compean case touched a raw nerve out there across America they way it touched one in my own heart.

In less than a month, we were able to get more than 40,000 people to sign the petition to release Ramos and Compean.

With time running out, we decided the best way to direct urgent communications to the White House was through overnight courier. We were able to get thousands of WND readers to send those letters by FedEx – a campaign that ended late last week.

I don’t know how much of a role that campaign played in influencing the White House, but I am certain that the prayers and expressions of support of Americans for Ramos and Compean made a difference.

Aren’t you?

Isn’t it nice to win one occasionally?

Isn’t it nice when the right thing actually happens?

Isn’t it nice when we work hard toward a goal and actually see it realized?

Honestly, I didn’t think I could possibly be this happy on the day Barack Obama is inaugurated as president. I didn’t think I’d be smiling this broadly today. I am very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I’m ready for the next campaign.

I couldn’t believe it the day Ramos and Compean were actually incarcerated for the 2005 incident in which they fired on a drug smuggler who had brought a load of some 750 pounds of marijuana into Texas. I couldn’t believe it when the drug dealer was given immunity to testify against the lawmen. I couldn’t believe it when a jury agreed to send them away for more than a decade each. I couldn’t believe it when I read about these two men in solitary confinement.

And I couldn’t believe it yesterday when I learned they would finally be freed in March.

I’m encouraged today.

I’m encouraged to believe that we can get things done when we set our minds to the task.

I’m encouraged that justice can still prevail in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.

But most of all, I’m encouraged today that the Ramos and Compean families will soon be reunited – children and fathers, wives and husbands.

Hallelujah.

Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, they will soon be free at last.


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