In short, the story of Ramos and Compean, to the average observer, smacks of the same kind of injustice as do the countless stories of Border Patrol Agents being fire-bombed and assaulted and shot at themselves; and the stories of illegal aliens bankrupting public services in the United States; and the stories of American law enforcement agents being left powerless to do anything at all with the “federal” problem of illegal immigration.
And this is why President Bush has a tremendous opportunity. By commuting the sentences of Ramos and Compean, Bush can rectify a flawed court decision that a bi-partisan contingency in the Senate has determined to be highly problematic. But he can also demonstrate to the American people that he is not completely clueless as to how bitter and angry they have become over our government’s unwillingness to take a strong, law-and-order stand on illegal immigration.
For much of his second term, Bush (and other members of his administration) has repeatedly failed to accurately assess the attitudes and perceptions held by the American people, on a variety of key domestic issues. This problem of communication has been especially costly with respect to immigration reform.
For example, consider what did and did not happen in 2006. As illegal immigrants’ rights activists repeatedly staged traffic-stopping demonstrations in large cities throughout the country, waving the Mexican flag and publicly arguing for “amnesty,” the President seemed to have no sense that American citizens were becoming enraged by the social disruption, and kept right on talking about providing “pathways to citizenship” and “worker visas.” At the same time, Bush chose to say nothing at all about the increasing reports of violence and vandalism against American people and property at the U.S. / Mexico border.
This year, Bush has continued his pattern of saying nothing about these assaults on American lives, property, and sensibilities. Even as the Senate debated the “comprehensive immigration reform bill,” news emerged that border crossers and smugglers had begun setting arson fires in Arizona national forest lands as a means of “smoking out” border patrol operations. But Bush remained silent about it, choosing instead to chastise Americans who were “standing in the way of progress” by opposing his bill.
The President famous for saying that we are “hunting down the terrorists and bringing them to justice,” now needs to provide an added measure of justice to Ramos and Compean. To do so, might be a first step towards reassuring Americans that he’s serious about combating the terrorism we face regularly in our own backyard.
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.