The True Conservative Position Papers
HEALTH CARE REFORM
I believe our health care system and its challenges need to be addressed in a new way that empowers our strongest asset in controlling the spiraling cost of health care: the U.S. consumer.
As you know, health care costs in the U.S. are increasing over 30% faster than the rest of the economy and will consume 17% of our Gross Domestic Product by 2011. [The U.S. spends less that 4% of our GDP to provide for the national security of our great nation.] This level of spending and inflation makes our current system unsustainable and real reforms are going to be necessary as our population ages.
Since World War II, when employer sponsored health care became a more widely offered employee benefit, spending has increased from 5% of GNP to 16% today. Systematically, the eye of the health care consumer has been removed from the market place. Whether it is employers offering a single insurance option or the government making health care choices on behalf of the elderly and the poor, consumers have been increasingly removed from the market place. The result has been a system with costs increasing at rates that are neither sustainable nor practical.
The solution is freedom for the consumer to pursue their own health care choices. Therefore, I propose three major reforms that will bring the consumer back into the health care equation: 1. freedom to buy health insurance across state lines; 2. freedom to make informed health care choices; and 3. freedom to innovate to save money and improve medical outcomes.
1. Freedom To Buy Health Insurance Across State Lines:
Under current law, individuals and small businesses are required to purchase health care plans that are offered in their state of residency. Therefore, the health insurance customer is held hostage to state legislators and regulators which impose an increasing number of mandates on the marketplace. For example, the average individual policy in the state of New Jersey costs $6,046 per year for a family of four, while a similar policy in Iowa costs only $1,965. This disparity in health insurance premium costs can largely be attributed to the level of mandates imposed by the respective states. New Jersey insurers are required to cover 41 mandates (including chiropodist and occupational therapists) versus the 23 mandates imposed by the State of Iowa. Families and small businesses in New Jersey should be allowed to shop across state lines for the health care policy that best meets their needs; avoiding systems that encourage mandates.
2. Freedom To Make Informed Health Care Choices Through Public Disclosure:
Today, when a consumer decides to make a purchase, for example a new car, they are empowered through easy access to information to find the best deal. With just a couple of clicks of the mouse, they can find clear and concise information on the vehicle including: price, reliability, upgrades, customer reviews and maintenance costs. Sadly, this same level of information is denied those seeking to purchase health care.
This lack of available information keeps the consumer/patient hostage to the false market that has been negotiated between the hospital and the insurance company. Consumers should be permitted to find the highest quality of care for the lowest price. Therefore, hospitals and other health care providers should be required to place their fee schedules on line or otherwise make them readily accessible for potential consumers. This return of market forces, open competition and empowered consumer will result in falling health care costs and rising care quality.
3. Freedom To Innovate In Order to Save Money and Improve Medical Outcomes:
Over the past 30 years, eight of the ten most important medical breakthroughs originated in America. The United States is home to some of the best medical minds in the world, yet government driven health care fails to reward innovative thinking and new methods in hospitals.
The Government bureaucracy that is Medicare determines the means by which a patient will receive care by mandating a payment scheme based on a particular treatment protocol. Should a doctor find an equally effective and less expensive manner by which to treat a patient that further involves less time in the hospital, the reimbursement rate for the process is significantly less and, in some cases, does not cover the total cost of care. Therefore, government management actually encourages expensive and more ineffective care over better, less expensive alternatives.
Unfortunately, Medicare is slow to implement these innovations in protocols. Therefore, I propose the creation of four test hospitals (1 university hospital, 1 public hospital and 2 community hospitals) that will, under the direction of an established commission, be deregulated institutions that will safely implement new procedures and cost saving measures within a test hospital in order to determine and implement system-wide protocol improvements. By agreeing to participate, Medicare will cover all patient expenses not covered by insurance, including all revenue loss. In return, the institution will agree to strict oversight by the established commission and follow all protocols. This pilot project will bring innovation back to health care delivery and identify in a rapid, safe and appropriate manner, changes in the system that will increase health care quality and reduce costs.
1. Right to life amendment:
I would amend the U.S. Constitution and provide blanket protection to all unborn children from the moment of conception by prohibiting any state or federal law that denies the personhood of the unborn. Likewise, I have also introduced the Right to Life Act, which would legally define “personhood” as the moment of conception and, therefore, guarantee all constitutional rights and protections, including life, to the unborn without utilizing a constitutional amendment.
2. Federal laws relating to abortion and human life protections (e.g, embryonic research and end of life, etc.):
There are several areas of federal law that require human life protections. I have cosponsored the following pieces of legislation:
• The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit transporting a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion, if this action circumvents the minor’s native state’s parental involvement law. I voted in favor of this bill when it passed the House 270-157 on April 27, 2005.
• The Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2005, which would prohibit and criminalize efforts at reproductive cloning.
• The Parent’s Right to Know Act of 2005, which would prohibit federal funding to carry out federal family planning programs in which service providers in the project knowingly provides contraceptive drugs or devices to a minor, except in specific circumstances.
• The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2006, which would require abortion providers to notify women who want to have an abortion 20 weeks after fertilization that the evidence suggests their unborn child feels pain and they may request anesthesia for their unborn child in order to reduce or eliminate the pain.
I have also supported human life protection efforts with the following votes:
• I supported the Fetus Farming Prohibition Act, banning the practice of fetal farming, the creation of embryos specifically for the purposes of scientific research.
• I voted in favor of the Alternative Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapies Enhancement Act, which would direct federal funding to stem-cell research that does not rely on embryos.
• I voted against the Stem-Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which would have directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem-cells, regardless of the date on which the stem-cells were derived from a human embryo.
• I voted against amendments offered to the National Defense Authorization Act permitting taxpayer funded military facilities overseas to be used to support abortions on demand for military women and military dependents.
• I voted against amendments providing UN funding to groups that support coercive abortion programs.
3. Balanced Budget
I support a balanced federal budget, with additional revenue provided by economic growth, not increased taxes. Further, I support limiting growth in non-defense areas.
4. Areas of federal spending that will be priority for reductions and increases:
A balanced federal budget is a priority for our national economic health and long-term prosperity. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have fought for federal spending to provide for our national and homeland security, as directed by the U.S. Constitution, and funding increases in both of these arenas will be necessary in the future to keep our families safe and secure.
Budgetary savings must be identified through efficiency reforms throughout the federal government. Furthermore, we must aggressively attack the creation and funding of duplicative federal programs, many of which simply do not perform but cost taxpayers millions of their hard-earned dollars. According to Office of Management and Budget, 28% of federal programs are either ineffective or have results that are not demonstrated. Reforming, combining or eliminating those programs remains among my highest legislative priorities.
5. Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment:
I believe the current decisional law on the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment is inconsistent and flawed. For example, the recent decisions on the Ten Commandment display, where the Supreme Court ruled that in Texas it is appropriate to have a Ten Commandments monument on the courthouse grounds, but in Kentucky the same display violates the Establishment Clause. The Founding Fathers developed these clauses to guarantee the right of all citizens to worship and to protect the church from the state, not to strip religion from the everyday lives of Americans.
Another example of where the Establishment Clause has been abused by activist judges is the case surrounding the Mt. Soledad Veterans’ Memorial in San Diego, California. Knowing that the Memorial, which incorporates a cross, did not violate the federal Establishment Clause, the courts applied the more restrictive state Establishment Clause and ordered the cross removed. In order to protect the long-standing veterans’ memorial from being destroyed, a series of legislative steps were required involving the transfer of the memorial grounds from state to federal control.
6. Kelo property rights/eminent domain decision by the Supreme Court:
I am deeply concerned with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision greatly broadening local government’s use of eminent domain in Kelo vs. New London and believe it is important that Congress protect the property rights of private landowners and curb the government from excessive regulatory takings. It is for this reason that I voted in favor of expressing the grave disapproval of the House of Representatives regarding the majority opinion in the Kelo case.
Additionally, I cosponsored H.R. 3268 (Gingrey-GA), the Eminent Domain Tax Relief Act of 2005, which abolished the capital gains tax on private property taken by the government through eminent domain. I also voted in favor of a legislative amendment Congressman Scott Garrett (R-NJ) offered to H.R. 3058, the FY2006 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, the District of Columbia, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act, prohibiting federal funding from being used to improve or construct infrastructure support on lands acquired through the use of eminent domain of private property for private development.
7. A federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman:
I firmly believe that marriage is one of the most important social institutions we have and that it is central to promoting family values and raising children in a healthy environment. It is for this reason that I cosponsored and voted in favor of H.J. Res. 88 (Musgrave-CO), which proposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Numerous studies indicate fathers excel at reducing antisocial behavior and delinquency in boys and sexual activity in girls, while mothers provide emotional security and read the physical and emotional cues of infants. I firmly believe that children need the unique influence offered by both a father and a mother.
8. Parental rights:
I strongly believe Congress needs to remain actively involved in ensuring parents’ rights are protected and I have significant concerns with recent judicial rulings recognizing “de-facto” or “psychological” parents, individuals who assist in raising a child. These types of decisions undermine parental authority, allowing any adult with an association with the child to make parental claims.
The larger problem that exists is that current laws are somewhat silent regarding the rights of children born into nontraditional families. Correcting ambiguities in the law is a legislative responsibility of Congress not for the courts. At the current time, I do not know if a constitutional amendment is necessary. Before amending the Constitution, I support pursuing legislative alternatives that remain available to Congress protecting the fundamental right of parents to direct and control the upbringing and education of their children.
9. Philosophy of judicial appointments:
I support people with good judgment, proven values, a belief in God, and a heart for the least of us, including the unborn. I believe it is important that those sitting on the bench understand that they have a responsibility to strictly interpret our nation’s laws and not legislate from the bench with their own political or social agenda.
10. Sexual orientation as a protected class under federal civil rights laws and hate crimes:
In the past, Congress has considered legislation that would allow the federal government to assist local authorities in the investigation and prosecution of crimes motivated by a person’s race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or religion. Current law allows the federal government to intervene in cases deemed hate crimes only if they occur on federal property, or if the victim was participating in one of six very specific activities, such as voting.
I have always voted against this type of legislation because I firmly believe that the use of violence against any innocent person is wrong, regardless of that individual’s race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. Despite the intentions of these bills, I sincerely doubt that increased federal involvement in these state issues would have any significant effect on these crimes. If crimes are prioritized based on the victims’ status, we threaten the very tenet of equal protection under the law that is the foundation of our legal system. Instead, all violations of the law should be dealt with in a manner that delivers justice on behalf of the victims and their families. I support strict punishment for heinous crimes, like murder, regardless of the social circumstances. The idea espoused in so called “hate crime” legislation that some murders are less serious than others rebukes common sense.
11. Enforcement of federal obscenity laws and broadcast decency:
I believe it is important to keep government involvement in the personal lives of American citizens to a minimum. At the same time, it is equally as important to support the enforcement of tougher regulations and much higher fines for broadcasts that violate regulations of the Federal Communication Commission. It is for this reason that I voted in favor of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, which increases the penalties for violations by television and radio broadcasters who transmit obscene, indecent, and profane material on public airwaves.
I also have concerns with the questionable material our children continue to have through the Internet and other entertainment products. I believe those distributing harmful material to young people should be held responsible. As a result, I drafted legislation, the Parent’s Empowerment Act, which will allow parents to sue any person who knowingly sells or distributes a product that contains material that is harmful to minors, empowering parents to protect their children from the predatory practices of pornographic distributors.
I believe gambling is a serious problem in today’s society, every much as addictive and destructive as alcohol and illegal drugs. As a result, this problem is equally deserving of as much attention in terms of federal policy. Unfortunately, those individuals who spend most of their money gambling are the ones who have the least amount to lose, often choosing to gamble instead of taking care of their families.
I also believe Internet gambling has become a problem as serious as traditional casino gambling. Law enforcement agencies have indicated that this activity serves as a vehicle for money laundering activities that can be exploited by terrorists and organized crime. It is for this reason that I cosponsored H.R. 4777 (Goodlatte-VA) which will amend federal law and bring the current prohibition against wireline interstate gambling up to date with the Internet and other new technologies. At the same time, the bill will provide additional tools to law enforcement to combat illegal gambling.
13. National Endowment of the Arts:
I have significant concerns with federal funding provided to the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). As many Americans know, the NEA provides direct grants to art institutions, programs of national significance and a few limited individual grants for literature and music fellowships. I believe the creative arts can play an important role in the expressive and cultural development of our society. At the same time, however, I strongly oppose using these federal funds for any group that produces material that has questionable artistic, scientific or political value. For that reason, I have consistently voted against funding increases for the NEA and I have supported, and will continue to support, efforts to transfer NEA funds to school art programs.
14. Goals for the Department of Education:
I believe we can educate students more effectively by returning school curriculum prerogatives to the states, local communities and, most importantly, to the family. State agencies charged with conducting education policies do not need expensive and inefficient mandates from a federal agency and I support streamlining the responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Education toward a goal of working in cooperation with local and state governments to meet local and state learning levels.
15. Educational choice (vouchers, tax credits); home schooling; and the freedom of private and home education from federal regulation:
I support taking the actions necessary to strengthen our public educational system and school vouchers are a great opportunity to provide students and their families with additional educational choices. According to national studies, a significant percentage of high school students have difficulty reading at a proficient level, test well below the international average in math and science, and lack basic knowledge in history. Clearly, parents have a reason to be concerned. Many Americans support innovative plans that address our current education shortcomings and I believe school vouchers are an effective way of achieving this goal.
Taking into consideration that approximately 2 million children are taught at home, it is important that we make every effort to ensure these students have the same access and opportunities to federal benefits, such as financial aid, as those who attend public school.
16. Federally-funded sex education programs:
I support limited federal involvement in terms of an education curriculum that contains sexual material. There has been a great deal of focus on educating our children about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and contraception, I believe an equal amount of attention and education should be focused on the importance of abstinence. Programs should be designed to ensure that they do not implicitly condone sexual activity among teens. Research indicates that young people who become sexually active are not only vulnerable to STDs, but also likely to experience emotional and psychological injuries, subsequent marital difficulties and involvement in other high-risk behaviors.
I remain concerned over the breakdown of values in American society and I firmly believe that the lack of morals and principles that has become commonplace will eventually prove to be detrimental to our nation’s overall well-being. For this reason, I believe that we must take caution to ensure that young people develop an understanding of commitment, fidelity and intimacy that will serve them well as the foundations of a healthy marital life in the future.
Families and Taxes
17. Current tax code and its penalty on married couples:
The current tax code unfairly imposes a penalty on married couples and I believe legislative action is needed immediately. In 2001, Congress passed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) to, among other things, provide marriage tax penalty relief to America’s working married couples. These changes are phased in over several years while, at the same time, all of the changes in EGTRRA will expire after 2010. Taking into consideration that the current tax code has a sunset on the marriage penalty solution, it is imperative that Congress pass legislation to make this provision permanent. It is not only equitable, but prevents sending a message that married couples should be treated differently than singles.
18. Alternative Minimum Tax:
I firmly support reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and believe it is the most pressing individual income tax issue facing Americans today. This tax regulation was created in 1969 in an effort to close certain loopholes and ensure that a small number of extremely high-income taxpayers paid a fair share of the federal income tax. However, the lack of indexation of the AMT, coupled with the recent reductions in regular income taxes, has greatly expanded the potential impact of this tax. Absent congressional action, the AMT will “take back” most of the tax relief granted through income tax reform.
As it is currently applied, the AMT represses economic growth and punishes those who are working hard to provide for their families. Temporary increases in the AMT exemption amounts enacted as part of the President Bush’s 2002 tax-reduction package are scheduled to expire at the end of 2006. If this occurs, the number of taxpayers subject to the AMT will jump dramatically from 3 million in 2004 to 21 million in 2006 and over 41 million in 2013. Families with large numbers of children will be especially hard hit. I support Congress passing legislation making increases in the AMT exemption amounts permanent.
19. Changes in the tax code I would implement to help families:
I believe our current tax code is full of antiquated policies that were installed for a specific reason and for a specific time, but never removed. For example, the Federal Telephone Excise Tax was first enacted in 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War when telephones were considered a “luxury.” While this tax was initially applied to long-distance service, it was later extended to general phone service in 1941 and currently applies to all telecommunication services, which include standard and wireless telephone services, as well as computer Internet connections. This tax unfairly targets Americans that rely on telephone service as a primary means of communication. For those on fixed incomes, including our nation’s elderly and disabled, it is often difficult to avoid excessive telecommunication charges, especially in today’s information age.
These types of taxes are indicative of a much larger problem; the current tax code is unnecessarily confusing and complicated, causing taxpayers to spend more than six billion hours every year on paperwork and other bureaucratic requirements. On average, $200 billion a year goes uncollected in federal taxes and taxpayers pay in excess of $5 billion a year to identify and prosecute tax evaders. Clearly, major tax reform is necessary. I have consistently supported efforts to reform the tax code, making it simpler, fairer, and more growth oriented. By replacing our current convoluted and fraud-ridden system with more simplified tax requirements, I believe we will be able to meet the dual goals of providing core government services and returning much needed income back to our families.
20. Major foreign policy objectives and philosophy:
I believe in peace through strength. I believe in a policy that supports U.S. interests by spreading freedom within the limits of U.S. capability. I also believe in ending the one-way street on trade.
21. Advancement of human rights and religious freedom:
The greatest protection of human rights in this decade has been the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Religious freedom is part and parcel of any free society the U.S. stands up.
22. The nation of Israel and the needed steps in the Middle East:
As House Armed Services Chairman, I recognize Israel as America’s most important ally in the Middle East region. As a result, I strongly support Israel’s right to exist and efforts to defend itself and I have consistently voted in favor of providing federal funding for Israel’s defense systems, including missile defense.
I also strongly support U.S. efforts to establish free societies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
International Law & Institutions
23. Changing our relationship with the United Nations:
I would increase the burden-sharing by member nations other than the U.S. In addition, I voted in favor of H.R. 2745 (Hyde-IL), the Henry J. Hyde United Nations Reform Act of 2005, implementing significant reforms that will create a more accountable and focused United Nations.
24. The use of UN Conventions or other treaties to control domestic matters such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Treaties that infringe on basic U.S. sovereignty should be rejected while international treaties that reign in tyrants may be of value.
25. Implementing my position on human life in the United Nations and other diplomatic venues:
For many years, I have been concerned with the United Nations’ programs that promote abortion as an acceptable alternative in family planning efforts. Since 1973, U.S. law has prohibited the direct use of federal funds to pay for abortions overseas and I have supported restrictions, known as Mexico City Policy, which prohibit federal funding to international family planning groups that provide abortion or counseling services.
In 2001, President Bush directed the United States Agency for International Development Administrator to reinstate, in full, all of the requirements of the Mexico City Policy. I support President Bush’s decision and firmly believe that foreign non-governmental agencies should not receive population aid from the U.S. for the purpose of advocating abortion as an option for family planning. The policy prohibits such funding unless foreign government agencies certify in writing that they will not perform or actively promote this practice.
I have also supported the Bush Administration’s decision to withhold funding from the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA) as a result of their Chinese family planning program. After consistently calling on China to end its program of coercive abortions, officials from the State Department were sent to review the situation in China and determine if the UNFPA is complicit in the coercive population control program. In 2004, then Secretary of State Colin Powell sent his report to Congress, confirming China’s violation of the Kemp-Kasten law, which prohibits the United States from providing taxpayer funds to any program that engages in coercive population control policies.
Empowering the Poor
26. Empowerment of the poor and the alleviation of poverty:
An over-taxing government is the biggest contributor to creating poverty. By continuing to inhibit the economic growth and potential of our citizens, we prevent the investment capability to create jobs, increase income and provide a stable financial environment. I believe all citizens are deserving of tax relief and tax-cutting policies benefit the American economy as a whole. I do not support efforts to identify segments of our society that are more deserving of a tax cut over another and I believe political stereotyping in this area hinders the goal of providing efficient tax relief. It is important to create a federal tax policy that is both fair to American taxpayers while, at the same time, ensuring that our nation meets its financial obligations. Tax reform efforts should achieve the dual goals of improving the tax code system and allow taxpayers to keep more of their money to support their families, save for their futures, and protect their businesses and assets. It is for this reason that I have supported several tax relief packages passed in Congress that have reduced taxes and helped spur the economy by allowing hard working American taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn to invest in their futures.
Further, America’s one-way-street trade relationship with China and other nations has reduced manufacturing jobs severely in the U.S. I would change the one-way-street into a two-way-street by putting the same charges on foreign goods that they put on ours.
Congressman Hunter has a 27 year record of fighting illegal immigration and promoting border security. As a member of Congress with a Southwest border district heavily impacted by the effects of illegal immigration, Rep. Hunter has steadfastly opposed amnesty proposals, including voting against the 1986 amnesty law, while tirelessly working to strengthen border security. Amnesty is not the answer. In fact, it encourages a whole new wave of illegal immigrants who seek to catch the next amnesty.
America has one of the most generous immigration policies in the world. It is unacceptable that we allow millions of people to sneak in the back door of our country when the front door is available. We have tried amnesty and it does not work. We must enforce and, as necessary, tighten our immigration laws and secure our border–it is a matter of national security.
As part of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform Act (P.L. 104-208), Rep. Hunter authored the legislative language mandating a 14-mile triple fence along the San Diego-Mexico land border, which augmented the single layer fence he had built with surplus landing-matt in 1989. Since then he has worked, most notably against strong opposition of the Clinton Administration, to see that project completed. Since construction of the San Diego fence began:
* Illegal alien apprehensions along the fenced region dropped from over 202,000 in 1992 to about 9,000 in 2004. Further, it is estimated that the apprehensions vs. attempts ratio increased to over 90%;
* With the establishment of the San Diego border fence, crime rates in San Diego have fallen off dramatically. According to the FBI Crime Index, crime in San Diego County dropped 56.3% between 1989 to 2000;
* Vehicle drive-throughs in the region have fallen from between 6 to 10 per day before the construction of border infrastructure, to only 4 drive-throughs in 2004 and those occurred only where the secondary fence is incomplete;
* The fence has forced drug smugglers, who once easily crossed the San Diego border, to attempt to enter the U.S. through major ports of entry instead. This significantly increases the likelihood of discovery and seizure of illegal narcotics entering our country.
As a result of the success of the San Diego fence, Rep. Hunter authored the provisions of the Secure Fence Act calling for the construction of 854 miles of border fence along the five most prolific smuggling corridors on the Southwest border. While construction of the Secure Fence project is not moving as rapidly as Rep. Hunter would like, the Administration is moving forward and as of September 30, 2007, 70 miles of new border pedestrian fence has been constructed. Congressman Hunter remains engaged in ensuring that the Administration meets the mandates put in place by the Secure Fence Act and secures our borders as rapidly as possible.
Birth Right Citizenship Reform:
Congressman Hunter opposes summarily bestowing citizenship on people who have crossed our borders illegally. Therefore, he is a cosponsor of H.R. 1940, the Birthright Citizenship Act, grants automatic citizenship only to those who have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. The Constitution has been interpreted to grant U.S. citizenship to any person born on U.S. territory. The unintended consequences of this policy has been thousands of women a year illegally cross our international border, often in dangerous circumstances, to give birth to their child in the U.S. and thereby guaranteeing that child U.S. citizenship.
One of the strongest draws to the United States for illegal immigrants is our economy and enticing job market. It is critical that we remove this incentive for illegal migrants. As a result, Rep. Hunter has cosponsored H.R. 19, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to implement a nationwide employment verification system. Employers need to have an easy, reliable and efficient system to verify an employee’s status and there must be real consequences imposed on employers who willfully break the law and employ illegal immigrants.
BORDER PATROL AGENTS
Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean were convicted for what amounted to procedural violations in their attempted apprehension of drug smuggler, Aldrete-Davila, along the Southwest border in Texas. For reasons that remain unclear, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton used his prosecutorial discretion to indict Agents Ramos and Compean on a weapons charge that carries a 10-year mandatory sentence. Given the evidence and circumstances of the case, this indictment against these Border Patrol Agents was completely unjustified.
In addition, information has come forward since the agents’ convictions that the drug smuggler, who was granted immunity, received free medical care and a humanitarian visa for his testimony against the agents, was involved in another drug smuggling incident just 8 months later.
Understanding the miscarriage of justice that has been perpetuated against these agents, Rep. Duncan Hunter has introduced H.R. 563, legislation granting a congressional pardon to the agents. While this has never been tried before and some argue that it is unconstitutional, legal advisors have stipulated that it has never been adjudicated and that there are some indications that such an action would be valid. Regardless, since the agents remain in jail, Rep. Hunter believes it is appropriate to try this course of action. 102 of his House colleagues agree and have cosponsored the legislation.
In addition, Rep. Hunter is circulating a letter amongst his colleagues to ask the President to reevaluate his previous position and immediately pardon the agents.
Finally, Rep. Hunter and Rep Poe offered an amendment to the Commerce Justice and Science Appropriations Act, which funds the federal Bureau of Prisons, to bar any funding included in the bill to be used for the incarceration of the two agents. Note- (Compean and Ramos were pardoned finally by President George W Bush)
Finally, my basic philosophy is to teach and train and inspire rather than simply give government “hand outs.” -Duncan Hunter