Monday, January 19, 2009


As I was catching up on sleep before my night shift, joyous news sweetened my dreams via the blaring radio. A quick scan of Drudge Report shows me that it was not just a dream. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are coming home. Breitbart News reports as follows.

"In his final acts of clemency, President George W. Bush on Monday commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration.

Bush's decision to commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who tried to cover up the shooting, was welcomed by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress. They had long argued that the agents were merely doing their jobs, defending the American border against criminals. They also maintained that the more than 10-year prison sentences the pair was given were too harsh."

It is a calming thought that two families that were so savaged by the criminal justice system and a cowardly immigration bureaucracy will finally be reunited. The one blemish upon this time of joy is that a commuted sentence does not wipe the slate clean. It does not restore the jobs and back pay of the two brave men, who remain convicted felons in the eyes of the law.

The convictions that stand against Compean and Ramos send a chilling message to other border patrol agents that they will not enjoy the support of their government in doing their jobs. The suffering already endured by the two men, who served two years in prison under trying conditions. It sends a message of leniency at a time when America struggles with a wave of illegal immigration and the threat of international terrorism.

Additionally, the outrageous lack of border security across our border with Mexico reduces the job of border patrol agents to the level of a fools errand. The failure to supplement the efforts of border patrol agents with credible fences and electronic surveillance reenforcement can only be construed as willful. There are too many people who want immigration enforcement to remain lenient for reasons that range from ethnic and political solidarity to a desire for cheap labour. Those who support strong enforcement of immigration laws must continue to raise their voices in defense of this cause.

Commutation of sentence would be appropriate for Jonathan Pollard, who did indeed spy for a friendly nation but got a sentence that was typical of those who spied for enemy states. It is not appropriate for people who were bearing arms in defense of their country, whose violations of law were purely procedural.

The wave of public indignation at the Ramos and Compean convictions and imprisonment sounded loudly across talk radio and the internet. It undoubtedly contributed to the freeing of the two wrongfully convicted lawmen. A new battle to expunge their convictions and restore them to their posts with back pay should now begin. The tepid support for our border patrol by the government sends a chilling message to those who would think of taking decisive steps to defend our border. It also sends a message to the American people that our borders are not secure.

The victory for Compean and Ramos is a victory for the American people. The injustice that remains is a disservice to us all. For our sake and theirs, the struggle must continue.