During his final full day in office, President Bush commuted the sentences of former Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. The two former agents had been sentenced after their involvement in the shooting a now-convicted Mexican drug smuggler back in 2005.
Ramos' and Compean's sentences will now end on March 20.
Ramos received an 11-year sentence and Compean received a 12-year sentence after their connection to the shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila who was shot in the buttocks while trying to flee the country across the Texas border. He later admitted that he was smuggling several hundred pounds of marijuana.
"The president has reviewed the circumstances of this case as a whole and the conditions of confinement and believes the sentences they received are too harsh and that they, and their families, have suffered enough for their crimes," a senior administration official was quoted as saying in a CNN article.
"Commuting their sentences does not diminish the seriousness of their crimes. Ramos and Compean are convicted felons who violated their oaths to uphold the law and have been severely punished," the official stated.
"This commutation gives them an opportunity to return to their families and communities, but both men will have to carry the burden of being convicted felons and the shame of violating their oaths for the rest of their lives."
President Bush has been conservative in granting pardons as his term nears its end. Before today, he had only granted 171 pardons and nine commutations compared to former President Clinton who granted more than 400 pardons and commutations.
More than 100,000 members used the NumbersUSA faxing system in the last week to send a fax to the White House in an effort to free Ramos and Compean.