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Imprisoned agent's wife attends speech

Jan 27, 2007

Washington, Jan 27, 2007 -

By Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 01/24/2007 01:00:00 AM PST

The wife of a convicted Border Patrol agent sat in the Capitol on Tuesday evening listening to the speech of the only man who can free her husband - the president.

Monica Ramos, the wife of former Border Agent Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos, of El Paso, Texas, was asked to be the guest of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, during President Bush's annual speech. Last week, Ignacio Ramos began serving a sentence of 11 years for the nonfatal shooting of a Mexican drug smuggler.

Rohrabacher has vehemently defended Ramos and former Border Agent Jose Alonso Compean publicly. Compean was sentenced to 12 years.

"Besides being his spouse and his best friend, I can only be his voice up here," Monica Ramos said. "He is innocent, and he is a hero."

Monica Ramos was escorted Tuesday by Rohrabacher and other congressional representatives who have asked President Bush to pardon the agents.

Bush did not mention the two agents during his address to the nation, nor did he acknowledge the presence of Monica Ramos in the audience.

TJ Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council representing nearly 11,000 agents, said he was disappointed that the president avoided the issue on such an important night.

"It is unfortunate that the president missed this opportunity to demonstrate strong support for all of the brave and dedicated law enforcement officers who serve our country," Bonner said. "Instead of declaring an intention to issue a pardon for two innocent Border Patrol agents who were wrongfully prosecuted by a misguided U.S. Attorney, he urged the Congress to grant amnesty to millions of people who have broken our immigration laws."

Early Tuesday, Monica Ramos, along with her husband's attorney Mary Stillinger, met with more than 20 congressional members and aides to discuss the case of her husband.

"What has happened to my husband is an injustice," she said. "I hope one day my husband will be the one to come out here soon and to shake the hands of these honorable men."

The symbolic gesture to invite Ignacio Ramos' wife to the State of the Union came on the heels of the president's first remarks last week regarding the two agents.

Bush promised to review the case of the agents, leaving the door open for a possible pardon.

Ignacio Ramos and Compean were convicted last spring for a confrontation they had with Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, a known Mexican drug smuggler, on the Texas/Mexico border.

On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos and Compean shot the Mexican national after a car and foot chase along the Texas-Mexico border. Aldrete-Davila, who was struck in the buttocks, had fled in a van the agents were pursuing; the van later turned out to be holding more than $1 million worth of marijuana.

Both agents have told the Daily Bulletin that they believed the smuggler had a gun.

The smuggler is now suing the Border Patrol for $5 million for the shooting and for violations of his civil rights. He was given immunity by the Texas U.S. Attorney's Office to testify against the agents.

Since the paper broke the story in August, three jurors have come forward to say they were coerced into finding the agents guilty.

Compean's wife met with congressional representatives last month in Washington, D.C. Claudia Martinez, Compean's sister, said she is still hopeful the president will review the case.

"Honestly I didn't expect the president to address it tonight," said the Huntington Beach resident. "I still have hope in the appeal or that (the president) will review the case and see for himself the lies that were told."

Monica Ramos, who visited her husband Friday in prison, said she was shocked when she saw him. Her husband was shackled and spending 23 hours a day separate from other prisoners with only one hour for phone calls and television privileges.