Reps. thrilled about pardon

Rohrabacher has been part of movement to free agents for years. Campbell wondered why Bush waited for so long.

January 19, 2009|By Michael Alexander

Local lawmakers are applauding a decision by outgoing President George W. Bush to commute the sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted in the shooting of a Mexican drug dealer.

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who have been serving decade-long sentences after shooting drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila as he fled and trying to cover up their actions, will go free in the next two months. In the eyes of U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, that’s a resounding victory.

“Our prayers have been answered!” Rohrabacher said in a statement released to the media. “This is not just a day of celebration for the families, but it is a victory for all Americans. ...The hearts of all patriotic Americans are filled with joy at the announcement that our brave border defenders, Ramos and Compean, will be freed from unjust captivity.”


Rohrabacher has been active in the movement to free Ramos and Compean for years, speaking at rallies with the agents’ families and sending out a constant stream of news releases calling for Bush to pardon them or commute their 10-year sentences.

Bush waited until the last possible moment to commute their sentences — his final acts in office — but local lawmakers said they were still grateful.

“We are grateful at long last that President Bush has done the right thing by these men and their families, and the president should be included be in our prayers of gratitude,” Rohrabacher added.

“I’m very pleased,” Rep. John Campbell said in Washington as he held a meet-and-greet with constituents Monday.

“It’s interesting why he waited until the last day to do it, but either way I think he did the right thing,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the border patrol agents were guilty of wrongdoing, but thought the sentence was excessive.

“They did do something wrong, but I thought the sentences were out of line with the crime.”

— Paul Anderson contributed to this report.

MICHAEL ALEXANDER may be reached at (714) 966-4618 or at

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