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  1. #1
    JadedBaztard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970

    Editorial: Remember: Honor first

    David Sedeńo is publisher of Diario La Estrella and a member of the Star-Telegram Editorial Board
    (817) 390-7322

    Remember: Honor first

    By David Sedeńo
    Star-Telegram Staff Writer

    Over the years, I probably have encountered a couple of hundred U.S. Border Patrol agents in the course of my work along the southern frontier.

    Some previously served in the military, others in law enforcement. Still others entered the agency after leaving their jobs as teachers or construction workers, or several years out of high school.

    The pay is not terrific, the hazards can be many, and the agency frequently finds itself in the middle of the never-ending immigration debate. Yet these men and women get up daily, don their olive green uniforms and badges -- reminders of the oath they took to uphold the law -- and plough through their work under the motto "Honor First."

    With few exceptions, I have been impressed with their dedication and commitment to dispensing and upholding the law.

    I guess that's why I'm having a difficult time understanding why José Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos have become near-cult-like heroes for various groups and individuals who say that border enforcement is a joke and lawlessness runs rampant on the U.S.-Mexico border. The former Border Patrol agents broke the law.

    And I wonder, too, whether the presidential pardon that is being sought for them by these groups is anything similar to the amnesty being sought for illegal immigrants by others.

    If you're not familiar with the story, here it is.

    On Feb. 17, 2005, Compean and Ramos were patrolling near Fabens, Texas, when they encountered a van driven by Osvaldo Aldrete-Dávila, who failed to pull over. After he stopped, Aldrete-Dávila got out of the vehicle, ran, went into a ditch and surrendered.

    As he was coming out of the ditch with his hands raised, Compean tried to hit him with a shotgun butt and fell back into the ditch, where he had gone to get Aldrete-Dávila. That's when the van driver ran again.

    Compean fired 14 rounds but missed. Ramos fired once and struck Aldrete-Dávila in the buttocks. Aldrete-Dávila fled into Mexico. The agents picked up the empty shell casings and disposed of them.

    It was later determined that Aldrete-Dávila was in the country illegally and that he was transporting more than 700 pounds of marijuana in the van that he had abandoned. The agents were charged with various crimes, including assault with a deadly weapon, tampering with a crime scene and lying about the incident, among others.

    Aldrete-Dávila was granted immunity to testify against the agents after federal prosecutors determined that no charges could be brought against him because the agents had tainted the crime scene.

    The agents were convicted in federal court last year and appealed their convictions. They began serving their prison sentences last month. Ramos was sentenced to 11 years in prison and Compean to 12.

    Lawmakers, bloggers and even the union that represents nonsupervisory Border Patrol agents are seeking a pardon. President Bush has been sympathetic but noncommittal, saying that the case must take its course.

    Several of my various Border Patrol sources said that although they want to side with the former agents as a show of solidarity, they believe that the agents knew they had done something wrong.

    "If you're a patrol officer, for example, and you come upon a crime scene, you have to stay away and wait for the detective who is trained to investigate," said a former Border Patrol agent and federal investigator who asked not to be named. "In the Border Patrol, it's the same thing. You have to keep the integrity of the crime scene or else it messes up the prosecution up the line."

    U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton said his office had no choice but to prosecute even though Aldrete-Dávila was a drug smuggler.

    "In America, law enforcement officers do not get to shoot unarmed suspects who are running away, lie about it to their supervisors and file official reports that are false," Sutton has said. "That is a crime, and prosecutors cannot look the other way."

    This is a tough case, and I sympathize with the families of the former agents who are reeling emotionally and financially. In the end, however, it's unfortunate that the agents forgot about the motto that should have reminded them about the huge responsibility that their agency has to keep the border secure.

    "Honor First."

    NO, it is NOTHING like the amnesty you and your buddies want for all these illegal alien invaders you TWIT!

  2. #2
    Raleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Me thinks something is rotten in Texas, and the common thread is illegals and Presidente Bush.

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