Party for Socialism and Liberation: ‘Bush rewards border agents who shot immigrant in the back’

Sunday, January 25, 2009
By: Enrique Vasquez
pslweb.org
Reposted to IPR by Paulie


A farewell gift to fascist, anti-immigrant forces

In one of his final acts as president, George W. Bush commuted the sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents in prison for the February 2005 shooting of an unarmed Mexican immigrant. The two men tried to cover up the incident and lied in their testimony.






Lou Dobbs on CNN blasting immigration
The viciously racist Lou Dobbs
ranked among the high-profile
backers of Ramos and Compean.

“There was obstruction of justice; they shot a man in the back,” said a former Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of criticizing the president. “I am speechless. These are terrible clemency cases.” (Los Angeles Times, Jan. 20)

José Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos fired a combined 15 shots at Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila following a foot pursuit. Wounded, Aldrete-Davila managed to escape across the Rio Grande. Fully aware of what they had done, Ramos and Compean disposed of the shell casings in an attempt to conceal what had happened.


When the story surfaced, Ramos and Compean were charged with seven and nine counts, respectively. Their testimonies were full of contradictions, and eventually they were found guilty on all counts except one. Each was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, but now they will be released within two months after serving only 14 months in total.


The former agents from El Paso, Texas, have been a cause célèbre among racist, anti-immigrant groups such as the Minutemen Project, as well as right-wing politicians and bigots. Rather than condemning their criminal behavior, the right wing turned the two men into martyrs. Sympathizers were featured on talk shows repeatedly stating that the men were “just doing their jobs.” (Associated Press, Jan. 19)


Among their highest profile defenders was right-wing CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. After getting hold of the story, Dobbs dedicated countless hours of his unabashedly anti-immigrant “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to popularize the lies peddled by the apologists for Ramos and Compean. (Salon.com, Sept. 7, 2007)


The Minutemen Project also began rallying support for the two shooters. Minutemen rallies frequently featured placards with slogans calling for “justice” for Ramos and Compean. The Minutemen are primarily known for their armed, vigilante-style persecution of immigrants at the border.

A common thread runs through the cast of characters that backed Ramos and Compean: virulent racism. Those were the forces that aggressively pushed for pardons for the two men. The fact that their cries have been heard reveal much about government and the justice system under capitalism.


Capitalist politicians and the corporate media continuously demonize and dehumanize immigrants, turning them into second-class citizens whose labor can be easily super-exploited. Under their reactionary discourse, undocumented immigrants are, by definition, criminals. Any use of force against them by the border patrol is reducible to “law enforcement agents just doing their job”—even if that means shooting an unarmed man in the back.


It should come as no surprise that the indictment, much less conviction, of a border patrol agent, police officer or any other functionary of the state is the exception and not the rule. The exploitative relationship between the owners of capital and the working class would be short lived if the state was not free to use violence as a means of oppression. This is particularly true when it comes to the most oppressed workers, including immigrants and people of color. The commuting of Ramos’s and Compean’s sentences may be utterly repulsive, but it is not shocking.


There is no shortage of prisoners who should not spend another single day behind bars: Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, the Cuban Five, and countless others. Ramos and Compean do not belong in those ranks.

21 thoughts on “Party for Socialism and Liberation: ‘Bush rewards border agents who shot immigrant in the back’

  1. Bill

    Mr. Vasquez why are you so angry and filled with hate? Lou Dobbs is not racist. Many of your harsh accusations are false and immature. The MinuteMan Project is not a racist group and nor do they oppose immigrants. They seek to stop the crime and havoc that many illegal immigrants cause for American citizens and legal residents from other countries. I am not a right wing conservative and neither are you, obviously, but I cannot allow your inappropriate comments and accusations toward conservatives to go unchecked. Most Conservatives are anything but anti-immigrant and strongly support individual freedom and opportunity. Most conservatives look favorably upon legitimate immigrants that come to America and lead a successful and productive life that would be impossible in other nations. When immigrants cross the border legally in search of a better life filled with the opportunities and liberties that the U.S. offers they garner much respect from conservatives. Most conservatives believe that every human being is entitled to freedom and a chance to succeed and they are proud when their country can give good people from Mexico a chance to succeed. Conservatives look favorably upon immigrants but they oppose violent criminals regardless of their heritage.
    You also need to get your facts right. Ramos and Compean will have served just over 26 months, not 14, when they are released. You conveniently forget to mention that the “immigrant” that was shot was a repeat drug smuggler and was carrying over a million dollars worth of illegal drugs in his van. Mr. Aldrete-Davila is a scumbag and a menace to society. Mr. Aldrete-Davila’s criminal behavior is unfair to the many good immigrants from Mexico and good American born citizens. There are plenty of good immigrants with worthy aspirations that become positive members of society so it is disgraceful that you would defend this scumbag.
    What kind of world do you want? You think Mumia Abul-Jamal shouldn’t spend another day in prison but Ramos and Compean should serve over a decade for bogus convictions. Mumia Abu-Jamal should have been executed years ago for the ruthless murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner that he participated in. In your twisted world thugs that kill police officers in cold blood should not go to prison but law enforcement officers should spend years behind bars for shooting a dangerous criminal. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You, sir, may be a racist, but those who oppose criminal behavior and illegal drug smugglers are clear-thinking individuals who strive for a peaceful nation full of wealth, opportunity, freedom, and compassion for all people. From your article, it appears you think America should be a nation full of crime, violence, drugs, disorder and tyranny. Fortunately for humanity, you are just one of very few extremists that have such perverted points of view.

  2. Libertarian Joseph

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    check out Paulie’s content

  3. Bill

    I don’t know if Enrique Vasquez shot anybody in the back but I think we could safely assume that he hasn’t. The question is irrelevant anyway and if you desire an accurate answer it would be more appropriate to ask Enrique Vasquez instead of me. Any other questions?

  4. paulie cannoli Post author

    LJ is a retard (although that is not really fair to the developmentally challenged). Am I a Constitution Party supporter too?

    I post a wide variety of opinions here for discussion purposes, some of which I agree with, and some of which I don’t.

    Actually, I do agree with the PSL on this one, although I don’t agree with their economic views.

  5. libertariangirl

    Im my hierarchy of wrongs , shooting someone in the back is way , way worse than selling weed.

  6. Conservative Culture

    Are you really serious. Anti-immigration? Of course you aren’t willing to tell your real position. Open borders for the thugs and criminals. It was a thank you to the anti-illegal immigration. Or do you fail to understand the importance of adjectives?

  7. Bill

    Paulie Cannoli and Libertariangirl, you are on the wrong track. I don’t care, for the purposes of this discussion, whether or not you think weed should be legalized. Maybe the government shouldn’t give BP agents guns if they are going to prosecute them for using them in the line of duty against scumbags like Aldrete-Davila. The point is that the border is a dangerous place and BP agents are there to enforce U.S. law, which prohibits marijuana, whether you like it or not. I think you could make a very logical and practical argument as to why marijuana could be legalized but that is another issue entirely. Personally, I think marijuana, like prostitution, should be legalized, loosely regulated, and taxed. Instead of spending billions of dollars to stop drugs (which will always be here) the government could be making billions of dollars off of taxes from drug sales. But the government never does anything quite right so don’t get your hopes up.

  8. paulie cannoli Post author

    Paulie Cannoli and Libertariangirl, you are on the wrong track. I don’t care, for the purposes of this discussion, whether or not you think weed should be legalized.

    I was talking about “illegal” migration, but yes, cannabis and all other “illegal” drugs should be legalized too.

    Maybe the government shouldn’t give BP agents guns if they are going to prosecute them for using them in the line of duty against scumbags like Aldrete-Davila.

    What exactly did Aldrete-Davila do that you think makes him a scumbag?

    Even if he was a scumbag, that does not mean that any use of weapons “in the line of duty” is automatically justified.

    Border agents use weapons “in the line of duty” all the time, and no one prosecutes them for it – including some cases where, even by the current “law,” they far exceed and abuse their authority.

    In the case of Ramos and Compean, they started pistol whipping an unarmed suspect after he had surrendered. Then, after he fled to escape the beating, they started shooting at him from behind. After he tried to surrender again, they kept shooting at him. As he fled again, they shot him in the ass, then attempted to cover up their crime by filing a false report and disposing of the shell casings.

    They were indicted, prosecuted, found guilty, and sentenced. If you are going to uphold the system, why do so selectively? If anything, the prosecutors in the case had to overcome tremendous bias within the law enforcement apparatus at all levels to protect its own in order to get this conviction.

    You are not seriously trying to suggest that there is not – and by definition can not be – such a thing as a cop, border agent or other law enforcement officer abusing his authority, are you? Because that would be an unbelievable, too good to be true incentive for violent, sadistic sociopaths to become law enforcement officers and be above the law. As it is, that is all too often the case.

    The point is that the border is a dangerous place and BP agents are there to enforce U.S. law, which prohibits marijuana, whether you like it or not.

    I don’t like it, but the thugs Ramos and Compean did a lot more than enforce the law, they got seriously overzealous and actually broke far more serious and well justified laws, which is why they were righteously convicted, sentenced and imprisoned, and wrongfully released early.

    Personally, I think marijuana, like prostitution, should be legalized, loosely regulated, and taxed. Instead of spending billions of dollars to stop drugs (which will always be here) the government could be making billions of dollars off of taxes from drug sales.

    While I agree that this would be an improvement over the current situation, I don’t think that the government making money is a good thing, nor do I think it is a legitimate – or in practice, the best – way to regulate anything. If I had my ideal choice, marijuana and other currently “illegal” (according to the regime) substances would be legalized, not regulated, and not taxed.

    But the government never does anything quite right so don’t get your hopes up.

    I agree with the first part. The second part – well, I’m an optimist for the most part. Eventually, the government will either wither away and die, or collapse of its own weight. I’d prefer the former, but wouldn’t be surprised to see the latter.

  9. TruthSeeker

    Thank you for speaking the truth so few are courageous enough to be rational, intelligent and honest these days.

  10. The Pattern

    Here’s a thought for Bill, who isn’t very thoughtful. The border is a dangerous place because your government wants it to be dangerous. There are lots of countries in the world which have very safe borders, very innocuous borders, where people and things cross all the time, sometimes through checkpoints and very often not.

    The border has not always been a dangerous place. And it need not be dangerous in the future.

    Your misguided concept of prohibition is stupid. Prohibiting the import of pot and coke and snow is stupid. Anyone who supports prohibition is stupid. Too stupid to look at the results of the last failed attempt to prohibit alcohol in your country.

    Your misguided concept of illegal immigration is stupid. People and goods should be free to move across borders. When trade and commerce, including in labor services, stops flowing across borders, armies move across borders. Your ideas of fortress America are as tedious, as stupid, and as prone to genocide as the Nazis and their fortress Europe.

    If you would think for a few moments, which I don’t really expect, it might occur to you that a border wall high enough and strong enough to keep out everyone imaginable is also going to be high enough and strong enough to keep you in. Most of the countries that begin exterminating their “undesirables” include in their efforts a very tight control of their borders.

    Now, Bill, I see from your comments that you are a belligerent nationalist. So, I don’t expect you to learn fuck all from this comment. But the lessons are here if you ever wake up and smell the charnel house your country is becoming.

  11. Bill

    “The Pattern” was your post a joke? Was it supposed to be funny? First of all you need to actually read what I wrote if you want to attempt an intelligent counterargument. How the hell do you know whether I’m thoughtful or not? Why do you say “your government” when speaking to me? Yes there are probably countries in the world that have safe borders where people and “things” cross regularly. Such circumstances would be a result of better government policies and much less immigrants than on the U.S.-Mexico border. I don’t support the U.S. government’s nonsensical border policies that give mixed messages and tend to benefit the few bad people from Mexico, while punishing and discouraging the many good and responsible Mexican citizens that come to the U.S. to have the life and opportunities they deserve. You say that the U.S. government (I’m assuming that’s what you mean when you say “your government”) wants the borders to be dangerous and I agree in a way. The policies implemented by the government discourage the good guys and encourage the bad guys to cross the border. I don’t know if government leaders specifically aim to make the border dangerous but their nonsensical polices sure do the job. The border does not need to be dangerous in the future as you state. I agree 100% and that’s why I am writing this very post. I don’t think we should put up a wall along the border between the U.S. and Mexico. What I do think we should do is arrest (or use lethal force if absolutely necessary) criminals from Mexico and put them in jail for a long time in prisons like they have in Mexico. Criminals will be reluctant to cross the border if they know they will be severely punished, rather than embraced, by the government. Also, the government should stop harassing good people that are here legally from Mexico over a typo or some technicality. It should also be easier to become a temporary legal resident of the U.S. The temporary residents would then be rewarded with permanent legal status for not committing crimes (exceptions for parking tickets!) and being an upstanding member of society.

    Would you be so kind as to tell me exactly what my “misguided concept of prohibition” is? Seeing as I really never discussed the matter in my above posts much. Best of all the one sentence addressing this matter in my above posts says “Personally, I think marijuana, like prostitution, should be legalized”

    Also, saying people are “stupid” who disagree with you is childish and ignorant. It shows that you are misguided and unthoughtful – not me. If you say people who share a particular point of view are “stupid” and then you fail to write one word explaining why they are “stupid” and you are right, you come across as a fool. Nonsensical statements such as “Your ideas of fortress America are as tedious, as stupid, and as prone to genocide as the Nazis and their fortress Europe” show that you prefer to fantasize about what my opinions on this subject are and do it poorly at that. You don’t seem to care that you’re saying I have certain beliefs, opinions, and ideas despite the fact that I don’t. You falsely accuse me of having opinions that I clearly don’t. Your tie-ins with Nazism are merely pathetic attempts to prove whatever you’re trying to. Nazism and genocide have no valid use for a discussion about immigration in America. You also feel it is appropriate to call me a “belligerent nationalist” based off of my comments. Once again, my comments suggest nothing of the sort. The only one being belligerent is you.

    I don’t care what your expectations of my thinking are so it is a waste of time to tell me you don’t expect me to think for a few moments. Unfortunately for you, I read your heated remarks and did think. I would suggest reading my actual words (I’m assuming you know how to read) before making your comments about them. I don’t think I even needed to write this post for an intelligent person to see that you have failed to appropriately respond to my comments.

    By the way, I didn’t learn “fuck all” from your comment other than the type of personality and perhaps lack of intelligence that you have. If there was anything else of remote value in your posting, I would have learned more, but there’s not. Maybe the lesson I learned was that there is no limit to how ignorant and out-of-line people can be.

    Thank you for your comment and have great day.

  12. RobotMan

    Paulie asks “What exactly did Aldrete-Davila do that you think makes him a scumbag?”

    Aldrete-Davila smuggled a vanload of drugs on at least two occasions. The first was the one in February 2005 that landed Ramos and Compean behind bars. Aldrete-Davila was attempting to smuggling over 700 pounds of marijuana before being spotted and chased by Ramos and Compean, finally ditching the van and fleeing back to Mexico on foot, getting shot by agent Ramos. The second was in October 2005, in which he smuggled another vanload of drugs. Keep in mind that he did this after being granted immunity for the first load so that he could testify against Ramos and Compean. Fortunately the immunity deal did not protect him from this incident, and Aldrete-Davila was arrested for this and was sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison.

    So there you have it, Aldrete-Davila is a scumbag. He is a professional drug smuggler, exactly the type of person we depend on our brave border patrol agents to stop.

    Now the big question is this: does the fact that someone is a scumbag entitle a law enforcement officer to shoot them in the back while they are fleeing and unarmed? The answer of course, is no, and that is precisely why Ramos and Compean were convicted and sent to prison. But when Enrique Vasquez and his colleagues refer to an admitted drug smuggler as an “unarmed Mexican immigrant” they are purposely misrepresenting the facts.

  13. libertariangirl

    selling and/or smuggling pot doesnt make you a ‘scumbag’ at least not to the libs i know . it makes you a damn successful capitalist

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