Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tancredo, Cornym, Rorabacher thrilled with commutation of border agents’ sentences

Tom Tancredo, who until this month was a Colorado congressman, says he's ecstatic over President Bush's decision to commute the sentences of two former Border Patrol Agents on his last day in office.

By the end of March, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos will finally get to be home with their families. More than 80 members of Congress had signed a petition asking for their release and urged the president to free the men. 
Tancredo was one of the lawmakers who spearheaded the release effort, and has since formed the Rocky Mountain Foundation to continue to pursue a border enforcement agenda.

"I am ecstatic. I'm just glad as I can possibly be -- and I thank God,"
Tancredo said. He will continue to work to get the two men a full pardon so they can return to their jobs, “but it is more important that they are finally getting out of jail.”

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said “I am extremely pleased the president answered my plea, and that of like-minded colleagues and millions of Texans and Americans, in commuting the sentences of Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean. This case cried out for a commutation and the president has now acted to right the wrongs of their excessive and unjust sentences.”

Said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California: “Our prayers have been answered! This is not just a day of celebration for the families but it is a victory for all Americans. The hearts of all patriotic Americans are filled with joy at the announcement that our brave border defenders, Ramos and Compean, will be freed from unjust captivity. “

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush finally commutes sentences of Ramos and Compean

With less than 24 hours left in his presidency, George W. Bush at last granted clemency to two former Border Patrol agents, Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos. The two had received lengthy prison sentences after being convicted of shooting a fleeing Mexican drug dealer.

Clemency for the two former agents was a major goal of USBC and attracted considerable support among all advocates of tougher border security, who had repeatedly argued that the agents were just doing their jobs.

A large number of senators and representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, had supported clemency for the two men. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2007 emphasized that the drug dealer had crossed the United States-Mexican border illegally and drove a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana worth almost $1 million.

The commutation granted by President Bush means the prison sentences of Ramos and Compean, both from El Paso, Texas, will expire on March 20, but leaves intact the three years of post-imprisonment probation and fines of $2,000 each. Both had been in prison since early 2007. Much of that time was spent in solitary confinement, which was said necessary to protect the former law enforcement agents from other inmates.

Bush commuted the sentences before he received a recommendation from the Justice Department's pardon attorney. "The Office of the Pardon Attorney was still in the process of reviewing the clemency requests from Compean and Ramos at the time these commutations were granted," a Justice official says.

In fact, the Justice Department was still reviewing the applications and had not made a recommendation to the White House.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tancredo’s biggest regret - the continuing imprisonment of Ramos and Compean

By repeatedly making provocative statements during his 10 years in Congress, Tom Tancredo believes he spurred activism and helped block legislation that would have allowed illegal immigrants to eventually gain legal status.

"I have a sense of accomplishment. It makes me feel good," said the Colorado Congressman.

Tancredo leaves office this month. He plans to consult and to continue work on immigration issues and to spend time with his grandchildren.

Tancredo said he regrets not succeeding in his effort to help win release of U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who are serving time in prison for shooting and wounding a drug smuggler.

"I think about those guys in prison, and I'm just sick at heart," Tancredo said. "I've done everything I can."

When he left Capitol Hill for the last time in late November, Tancredo gathered with his staff. As they exchanged goodbyes, Tancredo offered his version of high praise.

"We really started something," Tancredo said.