THE HILL: Frustrated GOPers urge Border Patrol agent pardons

Jan 14, 2009

Washington, Jan 14, 2009 - Several House Republicans on Wednesday vented their frustration with President Bush’s inaction to pardon ex-Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a drug smuggler.

“Just to note that the president is determining what his legacy would be,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). “I would say that the biggest black mark on his legacy will be if he closes the door to the Oval Office and Ramos and Compean are still behind prison bars and their door is still closed.”

The case of the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who were sentenced to prison terms of 11 and 12 years, was initially a cause célèbre for lawmakers wanting to tighten border security. However, the coalition of members of Congress who have advocated the release of Ramos and Compean has grown and now includes lawmakers from all over the political spectrum.

Few issues have created more tension between Bush and members of his party as much as immigration, and the agents' convictions seemed to highlight that conflict.

At a news conference Wednesday, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) quoted from a letter that he sent to Bush after Christmas.

“If you fail to intervene on their behalf, I join my colleagues today in saying, Mr. President, you have just a few days left; you profess to be a man of faith — I will not question that,” Jones wrote. “But as a man of faith, when a terrible injustice has been done to two Hispanic Americans, for God’s sakes, get down on your knees and pray to God and ask him if you should commute these sentences, because I believe God would tell you yes.”

Freshman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan, said convicting the two agents based on testimony from a drug dealer “is the equivalent of a United States Marine being prosecuted on the word of a convicted terrorist who has tried to take American lives.”

At a minimum, the lawmakers want Bush to commute the sentence so Ramos and Compean are released from prison.

Original Article: The Hill