Guard the Borders Blogburst
***A podcast of this week's Blogburst is now available.***
By Heidi at Euphoric Reality
There are only a few hours left to have some impact on the case of two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, who are being sentenced tomorrow for attempting to apprehend a drug smuggler who was fleeing across the border illegally. The charges against the Border Patrol agents were 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. The Texas jury acquitted both men of assault with intent to commit murder, but found them guilty on all other charges. The recommended sentencing is 20 years in prison.
You can read the entire account of the case in this Daily Bulletin article written by Sara Carter, but there are a few things you need to know up front:
Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof, who prosecuted this travesty of justice against the two BP agents, has successfully contended that BP agents are NOT SUPPOSED to apprehend or pursue illegals.
"It is a violation of Border Patrol regulations to go after someone who is fleeing," she said. "The Border Patrol pursuit policy prohibits the pursuit of someone."
Two weeks after the incident, a Homeland Security agent tracked down the drug smuggler in Mexico and offered him immunity to testify against the two Texas Border Patrol agents. They found the drug smuggler based upon a tip from another BP agent in Arizona! The connection between the Arizona BP agent and the drug smuggler is murky, though the prosecutor gets upset at any one who dares to question the unsavory connection.
The drug smuggler was treated to free tax-payer funded medical care in El Paso in addition to his full immunity to testify against the BP agents.
The drug smuggler changed his story, but the fact that he lied was never disclosed to the jury.
According to the memo, Aldrete-Davila told investigators the agents shot him in the buttocks when he was trying to enter the country illegally from Mexico. But according to Aldrete-Davila's later testimony and that of the agents, he was shot after trying to evade the agents upon his re-entry into Mexico.
The memo never was disclosed to the jury.
As a Border Patrol agent, Ramos has been involved in the capture of nearly 100 drug smugglers and the seizure of untold thousands of pounds of narcotics. He also was nominated for Border Patrol Agent of the Year in March 2005, though the nomination was withdrawn after details of the Aldrete-Davila incident came out.
Ramos also had drug interdiction training from the Drug Enforcement Agency and qualified as a Task Force Officer with the Border Patrol. But Ramos' training in narcotics -- as well as the numerous credentials he had received for taking Border Patrol field training classes -- was not admissible during the trial, he said.
TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, just addressed the Congressional hearings here in Houston on August 16th, where this case was of great concern among all the law enforcement officials.
He said the Border Patrol's official pursuit policy handcuffs agents in the field. He also sees the prosecution of Ramos and Compean as part of a larger effort by the federal government.
"The pursuit policy has negatively affected the Border Patrol's mission as well as public safety. Part of that mission is to stop terrorists and drug smugglers," Bonner said. "They could be smuggling Osama bin Laden, drugs, illegal aliens, or it could have been just some drunk teenager out on a joyride. You don't know until you stop them."
"The administration is trying to intimidate front-line agents from doing their job," he added. "If they can't do it administratively, they'll do it with trumped-up criminal charges.
"Moreover, the specter of improprieties in the prosecution of this case raises serious concerns that demand an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation."
Ramos and Compean and their young families have been living under threats of retaliation from criminals in the drug underworld.
The El Paso Sheriff's Department has met with the Ramos family to discuss continued threats against them from people they believe to be associated with Aldrete-Davila. The sheriff's department also has increased patrols around the family's home.
The only other organization that has responded to the Ramoses thus far, Monica Ramos said, is the Chino-based nonprofit group Friends of the Border Patrol, chaired by Andy Ramirez.
"This is the greatest miscarriage of justice I have ever seen," Ramirez said. "This drug smuggler has fully contributed to the destruction of two brave agents and their families and has sent a very loud message to the other Border Patrol agents: If you confront a smuggler, this is what will happen to you."
This case has been virtually ignored by the press, which is why the American public only found out about it after the conviction of the two BP agents. But now that we know, we must take action. If, as TJ Bonner has said, this case is a dirty attempt by our government to intimidate law enforcement officers into leaving the borders wide open and unguarded, then the American people must speak out immediately.
You can do so by signing a petition that will be delivered to the President - but you must do so TODAY, it's the last day. The men will be sentenced tomorrow.
The goal is to collect 100,000 signatures asking President Bush to pardon these two men. So far, 97,589 people have signed the petition and there is no doubt in my mind that Guard the Borders readers can fill in the remaining numbers needed. The petition, to which you may add your own comment reads as follows:
To: President George W. Bush,
As a citizen of the United States I am outraged to learn that two U.S. Border Agents are facing twenty-year prison terms for doing their jobs-- pursuing illegal aliens who cross our border, and I’m calling on you to officially pardon them for their actions.
I am even more outraged to learn that this illegal alien (who was attempting to smuggle about 800 pounds of marijuana into our country), was tracked down by a Department of Homeland Security Investigator and granted immunity for his testimony against these two agents!
This is a terrible injustice, and I urge you to use your considerable authority and power to pardon these two agents and right this obvious wrong!
In addition to rallying your friends and family to take action with you, I would also ask that you call the White House Comments line, and leave a message on behalf of these agents. White House Comments line: 202-456-6213
Please do not hesitate to take this small action on behalf of men whose lives have been destroyed by a drug smuggler and corrupt government agents and prosecutors. It's the very least we can do for them - I wish there was more.
What if this was you? What will happen to these two men? What will be the fallout from such a miscarriage of justice?
"My husband is a good man, a loving father, and his devotion to his country and his job is undeniable," Monica Ramos said. "Prosecutors treated the drug smuggler like an innocent victim, refusing to allow testimony that would have helped my husband. The smuggler was given immunity. My husband is facing a life in prison.
"It's so frightening, it doesn't seem real."
COUNTING THE DAYS
About a week ago, feeling little hope, Joe Loya, Monica Ramos' father, took the family on what will be Ignacio Ramos' last fishing trip with his sons before he is sentenced.
"What kind of justice is this?" Loya asked. "What kind of nation do we live in when the word of a smuggler means more than the word of a just man?"
Monica Ramos says her hardest day is yet to come -- the day the authorities take her husband away.
"We just guard (our children's) hearts right now," Monica Ramos said. "I think about the last time he'll hug them as children, and maybe not get the chance to hug them again until they are grown men."
The sons are between 6 and 13 years old.
Ignacio Ramos was, if anything, even more emotional.
"Less than a month left with my family," he said, his voice choking, as though the air had been pulled from his lungs. "My sons," he whispered. Then silence.
It took several minutes for Ramos to summon more words. "All I think about at night is the day I have to leave my family. I can't sleep. I've always been with them."
Then he talked about the memories he would never have, "their first dates, high school graduation, sports," and the tears falling from his eyes were mirrored only by those of his wife, who took his hand into hers.
Families destroyed. A drug smuggler on the loose to threaten the lives of others and on the scam for $5 million dollars. And a government who won't do anything about either – unless we force it to.
The only ones left who can help are the American people themselves. That means you.
This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It is syndicated by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration in our country, join the Blogburst! Send an email with your blog name and url to euphoricrealitynet at gmail dot com.