I was driving down the street here in Amarillo (Centrally Located Between Two Oceans!™) the other day, and spied a billboard for the U.S. Border Patrol. The board promised an exciting career in law enforcement keeping our borders safe for legal immigrants and travelers, and keeping the illegal aliens out.
Pause with me for a nanosecond, and let’s consider what they’re asking.
Our Homeland (In)Security guys want to hire security guards to carry guns and enforce the laws of the United States regarding illegal immigration, smuggling, and criminal activity. In exchange for putting your life on the line, you’ll get paid, and will hopefully make it home each day, as you’ll be in constant danger of being shot at, run over, or ambushed by drug smugglers, coyotes (illegal alien smugglers) and terrorists. If that isn’t enough incentive for you, you’ll also have to put up with an employer who, when you are actually called upon to DO your job, will prosecute you, try you, convict you, and imprison you for up to 12 years. At the same time, your employer will take the drug smuggler who shot at you, give him a free pass, a get-out-of-jail card, free medical, and hide his criminal record from your jury.
Nice, huh? Don’t believe me? Ask (former) U.S. Border Patrol Agents Campion and Ramos, who are each serving 10 to 12 for doing their job.
The facts are these: Agents Campion and Ramos have been imprisoned for violating the “civil rights’ of a drug smuggler. The question is “why”? They were doing their jobs – keeping our borders safe. The guy that they were trying to apprehend was a repeat offender, smuggling drugs worth over $1,000,000. So why did they go to jail, and the drug smuggler go free?
I have no idea.
This case stinks. The Federal prosecutor played fast and loose with the truth at the trial. Now, even he admits that Campion’s and Ramos’ sentences were “harsh.” Essentially, they were sentenced based on a law that requires a 10 year sentence for use of a firearm in the commission of a federal crime. Huh? Now we’ve established case law that can conceivably be used to throw any cop in the country in jail for doing their job?!
What I don’t get is that this case is so transparently flawed, that it screams out for President Bush to pardon Campion and Ramos, or at the very least, commute their sentences. These are two good men, with families, trying to do a job where they are over-matched, out-gunned, and out-maneuvered at every turn. You’d think that the odds against them would have been enough, but then the U.S. Attorney’s office had to get involved and punish the very men trying to uphold our laws.
Why? In cases like these, there’s usually something going on under the surface. Something corrupt.
Now, I have no idea what kind of shenanigans are going on here. I just know that something stinks here, and it goes far beyond the case against the border agents. A corrupt judge? A corrupt prosecutor? Some kind of connection between the drug dealer and someone in power in the government? I have no idea – but there’s GOT to be SOMETHING going on here.
The question between now and January 20th is “will President Bush pardon Campion and Ramos, or will he commute their sentences”?
If life were fair, the agents would already be out. Bush would have rectified this miscarriage of justice before they saw a day of prison time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a fair world. Will Bush do the right thing? Up unitl recently, I would have bet my life on it. Now, I’m far from certain. I guess we, like Campion, Ramos, and their families, will just have to wait and see.