The President is within striking distance of another great opportunity.
Let’s hope he doesn’t miss it this time around.
The opportunity is actually two-fold, wherein he can advance the cause of justice, and convey something important to American citizens, all at the same time.
Bush is being asked to commute the sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol Agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, both of whom are in prison and serving 11 and 12 year sentences, respectively.
Their crimes include shooting an unarmed man while on duty (the suspect was fleeing from them), and then covering up the evidence of their shooting. These were serious offenses, no doubt, and nobody has suggested that they should go completely un-punished.
Over the past 14 months or so, the story of Ramos and Compean has been kept alive by some diligent internet bloggers; Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); some periodic coverage from cable tv news outlets; and perhaps most notably, talk radio’s highly influential “ John and Ken Show” at KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles.
But now the “news” of Ramos and Compean has become much more high-profile, given that Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) brought the matter before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which she chairs. After a review, the committee members expressed strong disapproval of how the cases of Ramos and Compean were handled, and now Feinstein and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) have sent a letter to the President requesting that he commute the sentences.
The actions of Ramos and Compean were obviously wrong. However, the details surrounding the shooting only make Americans more angry and bitter about the ways in which their government is, and is not, dealing with illegal immigration.
The suspect, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, had crossed the border and entered into Texas illegally one day back in February of 2005. Aldrete-Davila fled from Ramos and Compean both in a vehicle and on foot, and as it turned out, he was smuggling marijuana into the United States in his van.
The legal details are complicated. But as the story becomes more widely reported, three simple ideas resonate with American media consumers: alien enters United States illegally smuggling drugs; alien gets shot by Border Patrol Agents; Border Patrol Agents go to prison for shooting.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.