Monday, January 19, 2009

Bush's Border Patrol Commutation Lessens His Shame

In the last few hours of his presidency, George W. Bush today (link) commuted the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Alonso Compean, the two U.S. Border Patrol Agents who are serving 11 and 12 year sentences, respectively, for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks in February, 2005. As I have written (link), they made the mistake of trying to protect our borders against a drug smuggler during the presidency of an “open borders” advocate, and were made a lesson of. The case is a travesty, a huge and horrible moral stain on George W. Bush, his former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the man he appointed as the federal prosecutor for the region, one Johnny Sutton.

In keeping with the infuriating nature of the Bush Administration's handling of this case, which should not have been brought in the first place, the men will not be freed until March 20, rather than immediately.

In a previous post (link), I expressed hope that Bush would "make a small but morally-significant step in softening what will be the cold, harsh stare of history on his presidency by pardoning the two Border Patrol agents persecuted by his administration in what can be seen as a political gesture to the Mexican government, which does not want enforcement of our immigration laws. The case is difficult to understand otherwise."

Without a pardon, these public servants will be convicted felons for the rest of their lives. With today's commutation, Bush mitigates his shame and culpability in this travesty, but cannot erase it and does not end it.

John M Greco