Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, in my previous life before coming to Congress, I was a prosecutor in Texas for a long time. Then I was a criminal court judge. Justice is one thing that we should always find in our country, but we don't always find it in our courts, unfortunately.
This case that has now become very famous throughout the United States happens to deal with two border agents doing their job. They come in contact with a drug dealer on the violent Texas-Mexico border. The drug dealer bring in a million dollars' worth of drugs in a van. He abandons the drugs and the van, takes off, tries to run back to Mexico, gets in a confrontation with our border agents. Shots are fired. He is shot in the buttocks and disappears into Mexico.
Our Federal Government brings the drug dealer back to the United States and grants him immunity from prosecution of a million dollars' worth of drugs in order to prosecute the border agents who were doing their job. He was given that immunity and testified against the two border agents. They were convicted and sent to a Federal penitentiary for 11 and 12 years. And for the most part of their sentence, which started in January, they have been in solitary confinement, what we reserve normally for the hardest and meanest and most violent criminals in our society.
It turns out that this drug dealer was not just a mule bringing in drugs to get a little money for his sick mother back in Mexico, but while he was waiting to testify, given immunity, he goes back to Mexico and brings in another load of drugs worth about $800,000.
Our Federal prosecutors knew about that second load of drugs, but they insisted that the jury not know about that second load of drugs, and the jury never heard about that second load of drugs.
It is relentless prosecution in this case that is chilling the effect of our border agents on the border to do their job, which is to enforce the rule of law, to arrest drug dealers. Our Federal Government had the choice to prosecute two border agents that violated policy, or a drug dealer bringing in a million dollars' worth of drugs.
Now, you would think that public policy would say we would go after drug dealers. But no, our Federal prosecutors went after the border agents. We still don't know why they were so relentless in that prosecution, but they were. So tonight, while we are here, we have two border agents serving time in the penitentiary.
This amendment simply tries to right a wrong. It requires that no funds be used to incarcerate either one of these two border agents, Ramos and Compean, any further, and that they can be released from custody.
Almost everyone agrees that the punishment is way out of line. Even the prosecutor said that once. Last week the Senate held hearings on the prosecution of this case in a bipartisan manner and said that these sentences were way out of line. And so this amendment will simply allow no Federal funds to be used to incarcerate these two border agents.
Hopefully the House will continue to have hearings on why these two agents and other border agents have been prosecuted by the Western District of Texas while ignoring other violations of the law by drug dealers.
I hope that my fellow colleagues on both sides of the aisle would agree to support this amendment and to allow the release of these two individuals, and not allow any Federal funds to be used to incarcerate two men who were simply doing their job for the rest of us on the violent Texas border.
I appreciate the support. I would like to comment on the comments earlier by the gentleman from California.
It is true. I don't know if the American public knows this, but if drug dealers bring in $5,000 of drugs or less, they are not prosecuted. But this wasn't a $5,000 case. The drug dealer first brought in $1 million worth of drugs, and in the second case he snuck in $800,000 worth of drugs. The jury was never told about that.
The other thing I would like to point out is that Members of Congress met with the Homeland Security inspector general about this case. They gave us information that turned out not to be true. Mr. Skinner finally testified under oath before Congress that the information they gave us about this case was false. That is disconcerting in this type of matter when we have Homeland Security telling Members of Congress things that are not true about this particular matter.
I don't have time to go on that, but I would ask for support of this case. This is the only remedy available. In my judicial experience, I do believe in our court system, and our courts eventually will work this case out. It will be reversed, but meanwhile they are in jail. The only way they can get out of jail is if we pass this amendment. I appreciate it.
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