Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have been released from federal prison after serving more than two years in solitary confinement for the non-fatal shooting of a Mexican drug smuggler.
President Bush commuted the sentences of the two border guards Jan. 19, and his order will go into effect on March 20. The pair will serve out the remaining month of their sentences in home confinement in El Paso, Texas.
Ramos' wife Monica was waiting at the federal penitentiary in Phoenix for her husband's release and told FOXNews.com she was overjoyed to be reunited with her husband.
"I can tell you it's a great day for me. We've been anticipating this for quite a while now but seeing him walk through those doors today was just surreal," she said. He is expected to land in El Paso at 2:30 p.m. EST.
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Ramos and Compean were sentenced to 11 years and 12 years respectively for the 2005 shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, a Mexican national now in prison for attempting to smuggle hundreds of pounds of marijuana in to the U.S.
Aldrete-Davila was shot in the buttocks while attempting to flee along the border in Fabens, Texas, which lies 10 miles southeast of El Paso. Prosecutors say Ramos and Compean tried to cover up evidence of the incident; the border agents say they were defending themselves in the line of duty.
The case became a cause celebre for a chorus of organizations and members of Congress — many of them Republican — who rallied to the border agents' side. Republican lawmakers were ecstatic on the news of their release Tuesday.
"At last, Ramos and Compean have been rightfully reunited with their families," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. "This day is long overdue. I wish the Ramos and Compean families the best as they now try to pick up the pieces and begin to heal from this terrible ordeal."
Ramos and Compean were unable to comment Tuesday as they are under a gag order until they are released from federal custody on March 20.
The pair will remain on "supervised release" for a period of up to three years, according to a statement from Ramos' lawyer, David Botsford. Botsford said it was appropriate to commute the pair's sentence in light of the "onerous" conditions they experienced while incarcerated.
Monica Ramos told FOXNews.com that the family has appealed the conviction to the Supreme Court and is awaiting word on whether it will hear their case.
"I won't stop until they tell me I've exhausted all avenues and they tell us that we can't fight it any more," she said. "We'll continue to press it every step of the way."