Less than a month ago, Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean reported to Federal Prison to begin their sentences for shooting a drug smuggler in the buttocks while trying to apprehend him. The very next day, California Congressman Duncan Hunter introduced a bill to pardon both agents. The bill was co-sponsored by 84 Congressmen, including Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon.
The incident has become fiercely controversial, and people have rallied on both sides of the issue.
There are a few different versions of what happened during the attempt at apprehension, but the short story seems to be that the smuggler, named Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila resisted arrest at least once, and several shots were fired. The agents have said that they did not think they hit him, because he was able to continue running and got into a van waiting for him. That van just so happened to be carrying an awful lot of Marijuana.
A report was never filed by the agents, and they subsequently stood trial for attempted murder and infringing on Davila’s rights.
They were acquitted of the attempted murder charge, but convicted of rights violation as well as an assault charge and sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison.
A few days ago, Ignacio Ramos was beaten up in jail.
To make the trial even cloudier, Davila was given immunity for his drug smuggling charges in exchange for testimony against the agents.
He is now suing the Federal Government for $5 million.
As the media coverage intensifies, several calls have been made on the President as well as other government officials, to pardon or at least reduce the agents' sentences.
An official at Buck McKeon’s office said that they received many calls on the subject.
Out of that came Representative Hunter’s bill, released on January 18th, and it simply calls for a full pardon of both agents. It also calls for the Department of Homeland Security to review their rules of engagement.
"The security situation on our Southern land border requires a strong law enforcement presence. This conviction demoralizes our nation’s Border Patrol and sends a clear message that we are not serious about protecting our borders and enforcing our immigration laws,” said Hunter in a statement.
"We cannot turn our back on Agents Compean and Ramos or the rest of the men and women proudly serving in the U.S. Border Patrol. These two agents deserve our full support and the Congressional pardon provided by this legislation."
At last night’s Santa Clarita City Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar read the bill, and asked that the Council adopt a resolution in support of it. Councilwoman Laurene Weste agreed.