Hunter testified yesterday for Compean and Ramos
Yesterday Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-R) testified in front of the Senate of behalf of Border Patrol Agents Mr. Compean and Mr. Ramos. He has sent out a press release for you to be aware of all he is trying to do to have these gentlemen released from prison for which they are in due to bogus charges and the word of an illegal alien drug smuggler. [Emphasis mine.]
For immediate release:Now THAT is what I'm talking about! Go Hunter '08!
July 17, 2007
Hunter testifies for border patrol agents.
California Congressman seeks full pardon for Ramos and Compean (Washington, D. C.)
United States Congressman Duncan Hunter took his fight to the nation's capitol today (July 17) to convince President Bush to pardon two border patrol agents he feels were unjustly imprisoned. Hunter appeared before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security.
The California Congressman testified that he strongly supports a Presidential pardon of former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean because, "there is absolutely no justification for such unfair and excessive prison sentences."
The incident dates back to February 2005, when the agents tried to stop a van driven by alleged drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila near the Mexico border. According to court documents, a scuffle ensued between agent Compean and suspect Aldrete-Davila. The suspect broke loose and fled on foot.
Agent Ramos says he believes that he saw a gun, a fact contradicted by the suspect. Both agents reportedly fired at Aldrete-Davila, who fell, then continued his escape across the border. Later, Ramos and Compean filed their official report listing the 743-pounds of marijuana they found in the van, but failed to mention the gunfire.
A Homeland Security agent apparently heard about the episode and traveled to Mexico. According to court documents, the Homeland Security agent offered Aldrete-Davila immunity, if he would testify against Ramos and Compean.
In his testimony today, Hunter took offense to that arrangement. "The U.S. government sadly decided to side with the drug dealer and prosecute agents Compean and Ramos for simply fulfilling their duties as border patrolmen.
The drug smuggler walked away from the incident with only a wound in his rear-end, and the opportunity to attempt another drug run."
Hunter continued, "The men and women of the border patrol are certainly not above the laws they are empowered to enforce, but, they must also know that when they apply the necessary and appropriate level of force, their government will not work aggressively to ensure they are punished while lawlessness is rewarded."
U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, a Bush appointee, prosecuted the agents.
In March, a jury found them guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, obstructing justice, lying about the incident, and willfully violating Aldrete-Davila's Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal seizure.
Because there was gunfire, the mandatory-minimum prison sentence the agents will serve is 10 years. The U.S. Probation Office in El Paso, Texas, had recommended 20 years for each of the two agents.
Hunter reemphasized his belief that, "there is absolutely no justification for such unfair and excessive prison sentences."
Hunter's congressional district is in southern California near the border with Mexico. He told the members of the subcommittee, "I represent the border communities, and have for more than 26-years. I have worked with the fine men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol to ensure they receive the support and resources they need to address the constant intrusion of drug and human smugglers across our borders. It troubles me to think that questionable testimony by a drug smuggler, who was granted immunity, and free medical care for his cooperation, was put before the two border patrol agents who willingly accepted this inherently dangerous responsibility."
Hunter noted, "The very day they surrendered to federal custody, I recommended that agents Compean and Ramos be segregated and was assured they would be removed from the general population and close attention was being paid to their personal safety.
The attack against agent Ramos indicates concerns for his personal safety and protection were ignored." On February 6, 2007, Hunter wrote to the President requesting that an investigation be conducted into the attack against agent Ramos.
The letter also requested that Bureau of Prisons Director Harley Lappin be discharged from his position should it be ascertained that the proper precautions were not taken.
Hunter concluded his testimony by emphasizing his belief that, "Pardoning agents Compean and Ramos is the only option available to correct this terrible injustice and, just as importantly, restoring the confidence of the border patrol and the American people that their nation is serious about enforcing its immigration and smuggling laws."
Hunter has said when elected president, his first order of business will be to pardon the agents. Hunter has led the national campaign for border security and immigration reform. He has been joined by scores of his fellow members, and several activist groups.
He was the only Republican Presidential Candidate to attend Tuesday's hearing.
Observers believe that the subcommittee members sought Hunter's testimony because of his long fight for a more secure border and his legislative initiatives.
Hunter drafted legislation that was signed by the President to construct over 800 miles of fence on the southern border. Only a few miles of fencing have been completed. Hunter has charged that the department of Homeland Security has the money and the mandate, but "the administration has a 'case of the slows' in getting the fence built."
He has pledged that, "he will see that the fence is up within six month after he takes office as President.
Hunter for President, Inc.
9340 Fuerte Drive
La Mesa, California 91941