Tancredo demands pardon for border agents after another killed

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., demanded a pardon of two former Border Patrol agents this week after another agent was killed in the line of duty.

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Tancredo, and many other hardliners on immigration, have taken up the cause of Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos — who are serving 12 and 11 years in prison, respectively, for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug dealer and trying to cover it up.Supporters say that the agents were wrongly convicted for protecting the United States against criminal intruders.

“Border Patrol agents risk their lives everyday to prevent illegal aliens, illicit narcotics and terrorists from entering this country,” Tancredo said. “It is time we pardon Ramos and Compean and send a clear message to potential smugglers that our Border Patrol will use any means necessary to prevent illegal border crossings.”

Earlier this month, Border Patrol agent Luis Aguilar was killed in the line of duty as he tried to stop a suspected drug smuggler.

Tancredo said that “the overzealous prosecution of Ramos and Compean has created a situation where Border Patrol agents now have to worry about being prosecuted and imprisoned for doing their job.”

In addition, he said: “In the ultra-violent world of drug cartels and human traffickers, even the slightest hesitation by law enforcement can be the difference between life and death. A pardon for Ramos and Compean would go a long way toward restoring confidence in our Border Patrol that this administration is on the side of law enforcement — not the Mexican cartels and the open-borders lobby.”

Members of Congress — including Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas — have asked President Bush to pardon Compean and Ramos or commute their sentences.

The prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of the Western District of Texas, has staunchly defended the case.

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