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    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
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    Sara A. Carter: Border agents get congressional support

    Saw this in Genral discussion but we could also use the article in the news area.

    http://www.dailybulletin.com/news/ci_4216595

    Article Launched: 8/22/2006 12:00 AM


    Border agents get congressional support
    Sen. Feinstein asking Senate Judiciary Committee to review case

    By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer
    Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

    California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to fully review the case of two Border Patrol agents facing 20 years in prison for violating a drug smuggler's civil rights.

    Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., went even further, sending a letter to President Bush asking him to personally review the case.

    Border Patrol agent Ignacio Ramos broke his 18-month silence on his altercation with the drug smuggler, Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Bulletin. His co-worker, Jose Alonso Compean, has been asked by his attorney to not speak to the media while his sentencing hearing is pending.

    Last week, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called for a congressional investigation and open hearing on the Ramos/Compean case during an immigration field hearing in El Paso. The congressional investigation is expected to begin before the end of the year.

    On Friday, Feinstein, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on panel chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., to hold a committee hearing on the case.

    "It appears that the facts do not add up or justify the length of the sentences for these agents, let alone their conviction on multiple counts," Feinstein said. "Border agents often have a difficult and dangerous job in guarding our nation's borders. Undue prosecution of Border Patrol Agents could have a chilling effect on their ability to carry out their duties."

    Feinstein also sent a letter dated Aug. 15 to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking that he personally review the case.

    Jones, one of many congressional leaders concerned about the agents' convictions, said Ramos and Compean should be commended for trying to apprehend Aldrete-Davila, and that their prosecution and conviction was unjust.

    "The Justice Department's outrageous prosecution does nothing but tie the hands of our Border Patrol and prevent them from securing America against a flood of illegal immigrants, drugs, counterfeit goods and, quite possibly, terrorists," Jones said in his letter to the president.

    "This demoralizing prosecution puts the rights of illegal smugglers ahead of our homeland security and undermines the critical mission of better enforcing immigration laws. These two agents should not be made scapegoats for our government's enforcement failures."

    By Monday, grassfire.org, a conservative group, had collected nearly 100,000 signatures for a petition that will be sent to the president to review the case. The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing agents nationwide, and the Chino-based Friends of the Border Patrol are collecting money for the families.

    Ramos, 37, and Compean, 30, are set to be sentenced next month for shooting Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican citizen, on Feb. 17, 2005, in the small town of Fabens, Texas, about 40 miles southeast of El Paso.

    Ramos said Aldrete-Davila pointed what he believed to be a gun at him. Ramos fired one shot. He did not know the single shot had hit Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks because the smuggler kept running and disappeared into the brush along the Rio Grande.

    Aldrete-Davila was later seen by agents at the scene getting into a van on the Mexican side of the border. He left behind a van filled with nearly 800 pounds of marijuana, worth more than $1 million. The U.S. Attorney's Office gave Aldrete-Davila immunity and free medical care at William Beaumont Army Medical Center for his testimony against the agents.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Kanof, who successfully prosecuted the case and spoke with the Daily Bulletin three weeks ago, said that the agents had no right to pursue Aldrete-Davila and that they violated Border Patrol policy.

    An El Paso jury convicted both agents of assault with serious bodily injury; assault with a deadly weapon; discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence; and a civil rights violation. Compean and Ramos also were convicted of four counts and two counts, respectively, of obstruction of justice for not reporting that their weapons had been fired.

    On July 25, the El Paso U.S. Probation Office recommended to Judge Kathleen Cardone that each man serve 20 years in federal prison.

    Ramos and his family say they have been overwhelmed by the sympathy and support from the public since their story was published. Ramos said he hopes his situation sheds light on the dangerous situations border agents face.

    "This is becoming so much more than my case," Ramos said Monday. "It's shedding light on the Border Patrol and the agents who are still out there facing these hardships. We're completely restricted and handcuffed by our own agency. ... We're not just supposed to be on the border as ornaments."

    Sara A. Carter can be reached by e-mail at sara.carter@dailybulletin.com or by phone at (909) 483-8552.
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  2. #2
    MW
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    "This is becoming so much more than my case," Ramos said Monday. "It's shedding light on the Border Patrol and the agents who are still out there facing these hardships. We're completely restricted and handcuffed by our own agency. ... We're not just supposed to be on the border as ornaments."
    "We're not just supposed to be on the border as ornaments." I think we can all agree with that Ramos!

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts athttps://eepurl.com/cktGTn

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