This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," January 19, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GLENN BECK, HOST: There is breaking news today on this Martin Luther King Day. Two men that a lot of people have been praying for have been set free. President Bush just commuted the sentences of two former U.S. border patrol agents, Ramos and Compean, who we have been talking about for years.
The pair has been sitting in solitary confinement for nearly two years, and were going to remain for more than a decade for shooting an illegal immigrant drug smuggler — dirtbag, in my humble opinion — trying to cross into Texas.
But not anymore. That changed today. With less than 24 hours before leaving office, President Bush commuted their sentences. Administration officials say the president does believe the agents committed serious crimes by not reporting the 2005 incident. But he believes the sentences handed down to Ramos and Compean were too harsh for their families and they have suffered enough for their crimes.
The sentences will now expire on March 20. Many lawmakers press for these men on both sides of the aisle to be released from prison, and so did their wives.
They are here in their first television interview since learning about the news — Patty Compean and Monica Ramos.
You guys, you flew in — we flew you in to do this show. We were going to do one last pitch to the president, "Please, Mr. President. Please have compassion on these families." And you find out today from Virginia, one of our producers, calls you up. You didn't even know. Who took the phone call from Virginia?
PATTY COMPEAN, WIFE OF JOSE COMPEAN: I did.
BECK: You did?
P. COMPEAN: Yes.
BECK: And she just said, "Congratulations."
P. COMPEAN: And I'm like, "Thank you. For what? It's like, "You don't know?" "Know what?" "That the guys are coming home." "Oh, my God. What?" And then I think she said a bunch of other stuff. I did not pay attention to what came out of her mouth after that. I just actually ran upstairs and go see if Monica knew and I turned the corner to get off the elevator and I could hear screaming, "Oh my God!"
BECK: Just unbelievable. So Monica, you just had — I mean, this has been hell for your family, both of your families. This has been hell. You just, the last couple of weeks, had somebody break into your house.
MONICA RAMOS, WIFE OF IGNACIO RAMOS: Yes, we did.
BECK: Tell me what happened.
M. RAMOS: Well, it seems the investigators did their investigation. We did have somebody — I was away visiting my husband at his facility. And upon arriving back to our house, my eldest son walked into our home only to find out that our gas had been left on.
And we had been notified by our neighbors that there might have been an attempted burglary. But nobody really knew for sure until we got there that day. Sure enough, we came in and our house was ransacked. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
BECK: They beat the dogs and —
M. RAMOS: They did. I have a Bassett Hound and German Shepherd that were beaten bloody. I also had — sofas were torn. They were knifed. And it was mainly not burglarized. I lost a few belongings, more like DVD movies, a pellet gun. But it was more of a message. They made sure that pictures were torn down, everything was broken.
BECK: Let me go to former federal prosecutor, Lis Wiehl. She's a FOX News legal analyst. When do you think, Lis, they can get out. When are they coming home?
LIS WIEHL, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, I don't think it's going to be until March 2009. And I think that's a good sentence, because what Bush did is he commuted their sentence rather than pardoned them.
In other words, he said, "Look, what you did was wrong. We're not going to let it go completely, but we're going to say that you are going to get a lesser sentence." So I think — ladies there, I think your husbands are coming back in March, and I think you should be happy for that. And I wouldn't push for anything before that, because that is a really good deal.
BECK: When they get out, can we be there? Our audience has been following this. May we be there and cover that homecoming? It is just going to be amazing. Let me ask you this, this picture — tell me about this picture.
P. COMPEAN: Jose, when he was in the Navy, he got a lot of awards, several awards — Sailor of the Quarter, Sailor of the Year, and this is one of those.
BECK: The president said today something along the lines, both men will have to carry the burden of being convicted felons and shame for violating their oaths for the rest of their lives.
How do you feel and how do you think he is going to feel coming home with that picture? How do you guys feel about President Bush, the country — service to the country?
M. RAMOS: Well, I know as far as my husband, he did what he was entrusted to do that day when he put on his badge and went to work. And we forever will be proud of my husband, whether he wears that badge again or not.
But what she said, we now have gotten the commutation to where we will be able to continue to fight. And right now, we are awaiting a response from the United States Supreme Court.
BECK: how do you feel? How do you think your husband is going to feel?
P. COMPEAN: I really don't know what he is going to feel.
BECK: Do you think — would either of you — you can't now, but would either of you, if they said, "Go ahead, you could be border patrol again," would either of you do it — say to your husbands, "You are not doing this"?
P. COMPEAN: Actually, I have had that conversation with him before, actually, this last time that I went to go see him. And I told him how I felt about that. But I also let him know it's his life. It's his choice. Whatever he decides to do, I'm right by his side.
BECK: One of your children was two months old.
P. COMPEAN: Mine, three months.
BECK: Three months old. How did you guys keep dad alive in the family?
P. COMPEAN: Pictures. For me, it's pictures, just talking about him, once David was able to understand more or less language. Because he's still too — he doesn't quite have it there yet, the language. He's still learning, but pictures and the few times I went to go take the kids to go see Joe, tell them, "You know what? This is your dad." And when Jose would call, "You know, this is your daddy."
Jose just talked to David. And he would say, "Hi, baby, this is daddy. Hi, baby." That's basically all we could do.
BECK: Monica, how did you keep Dad being a superhero? How did Dad carrying a badge, being of service to the United States — how do you keep the kids from not — from still looking at America saying, "Wow, this is a great country?"
M. RAMOS: You know, it kind of goes along the same lines of, you know, recruiting in border patrol right now. I kept him alive by encouraging them. I have never let them think otherwise of border patrol.
You know, my middle son has great hopes of maybe being in law enforcement. You can't take an isolated case like this and say — there's fine men and women out there.
BECK: As a mom, how do you feel about your son going in?
M. RAMOS: I would encourage him. I have stood by my husband for 16 years now, and I would encourage him to do so. There are just challenges we may go through, but —
BECK: Any message to the president?
M. RAMOS: I would like to take the time to thank him. He has given us now the chance to become a family again. And I want to thank him for that. I did call the White House to leave that message today, too.
BECK: Anything you want to say to the president?
P. COMPEAN: Thank you for giving us another chance of being a family and picking up the pieces.
BECK: I have to tell you, I feel the same way. Mr. President, I know you're not watching this show, but thank you. This is a story that has been so important to so many of us, and for you to do this in the end — all we asked was please, show some heart on this.
We disagreed on what happened here, but you showed heart. I can't tell you how much, how much of the road you have repaired for so many who are on the right. And really, quite honestly, in looking at the people who have fought for this, it appears on the left as well.
Guys, thank you. And we will see you again.
M. RAMOS: Thank you.
P. COMPEAN: Thank you.
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