Bush Commutes Sentences of Former US Border Agents

Pair was convicted of shooting drug dealer
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 19, 2009 12:56 PM CST
President Bush today commuted the sentences of two US Border Patrol agents convicted for shooting a Mexican drug dealer.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In his final acts of clemency, President Bush today commuted the prison sentences of two former US Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration. Bush's decision to commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who tried to cover up the shooting, was welcomed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Democrats and Republicans argued that the agents were merely doing their jobs, defending the American border against criminals. They also maintained that the more than 10-year prison sentences the pair was given after the 2005 shooting were too harsh. Bush didn't pardon the men for their crimes, but decided instead to commute their prison sentences because he thought they were excessive and that they had already suffered the loss of their jobs, freedom, and reputations, a senior administration official said.