AP: “Washington” ordered delay in immigration arrest of Menendez intern

posted at 12:01 pm on January 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Last month, the Associated Press broke the story of a deliberate delay in arresting a sex offender who illegally overstayed his visa and neglected to update his offender registry — and who happened to be a volunteer in Senator Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) office in New Jersey.  Why did ICE delay in arresting and starting deportation proceedings against Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta until a few weeks after the election? The AP now reports that the discovery of Sanchez prompted a discussion with “Washington” that apparently handcuffed law enforcement:

Newly released documents show that federal immigration agents were prepared to arrest an undocumented immigrant and registered sex offender days before the November elections.

However according to the internal agency documents, the agents were ordered by Washington to hold off after officials warned of “significant interest” from Congress and news organizations since the suspect was a volunteer intern for New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez. …

According to those documents, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Newark had arranged to arrest Sanchez at the local prosecutor’s office on Oct. 25. That was fewer than two weeks before the election.

Noting that Sanchez was a volunteer in Menendez’s Senate office, ICE officials in New Jersey advised that the arrest “had the possibility of garnering significant congressional and media interest” and were “advised to postpone the arrest” until officials in Washington gave approval. The documents describe a conference call between officials Washington and New Jersey to “determine a way forward, given the potential sensitivities surrounding the case.”

The senators, in a letter to the Homeland Security Department, said the agency documents showed that Sanchez’s arrest “was delayed by six weeks,” as AP had reported. They asked for details about the department’s review of potentially sensitive, high profile immigration cases when arrests are delayed.

First, one has to wonder what Menendez’ office does for background checks.  Sanchez had not only overstayed his visa but had a presumably easy record to check as a sex offender.  Even as a volunteer, wouldn’t that be something that a politician would like to know about the people staffing his home-state office?

Once that was discovered, either internally or externally, the normal impulse would be to get the offender out of the office. Instead, Sanchez tried to apply for Obama’s EO-fueled program to allow children of illegal immigrants to stay in the US, even though Sanchez had merely overstayed his visa:

The agency documents show that Sanchez failed to update his sex offender registration, and local prosecutors considered arresting him for that. During the same time, immigration officials learned that Sanchez had applied for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which would have allowed him to stay in the country and legally work for two years. He did not disclose his arrest or status as a sex offender on the application and was eventually denied, according to the documents.

Did Menendez’ office help him out with that effort despite ICE interest in deporting the sex offender? That would certainly give some sort of hint as to why “Washington” told ICE to stand down, and who might have given that order.  For his part, Menendez insists that he only found out about the case through the newspapers, but it’s at least curious that “Washington” would have intervened in this case without contacting the Senator for whom the suspect worked.

So now what we have is a Beltway whodunit.  If this was done to spare Menendez public embarrassment during the Senate campaign, that may be a case of obstruction of justice.  It’s certainly curious enough to require more investigation into just why “Washington” ordered ICE to delay its enforcement, and who gave that order.

Update: I changed the headline from “aide” to “intern” to reflect the AP description of Sanchez’ role.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I see no problem with Central Planning delaying the release of a apparatchiks’ indiscretions prior to an election.

Mr. Arrogant on January 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

If a law is broken and there is no one with a brain, a soul, and a conscience in the DoJ, was it really broken?

Archivarix on January 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

First, one has to wonder what Menendez’ office does for background checks. Sanchez had not only overstayed his visa but had a presumably easy record to check as a sex offender. Even as a volunteer, wouldn’t that be something that a politician would like to know about the people staffing his home-state office?

Not if they are a member of a group being pandered to. Sex offenses only matter if a conservative is involved.

katiejane on January 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

A nation of cronyism; not law.

locomotivebreath1901 on January 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

where’s the open thread on the Obama gun-grabbing speech numbnuts?

Tim_CA on January 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Sanchez had not only overstayed his visa but had a presumably easy record to check as a sex offender. Even as a volunteer, wouldn’t that be something that a politician would like to know about the people staffing his home-state office?

For the Fascist-Democrats “sex offender” is a resume enhancer, not a liability.

rbj on January 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Obama: “You’re damned right I ordered the Code Shut Up.”

BuckeyeSam on January 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM

So this Obama ally had pals in Washington who are OK with illegal immigrant sex offenders working for their buddies. Because Democrat.

FOR THE CHILDREN.

Good Lt on January 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM

I see no problem with Central Planning delaying the release of a apparatchiks’ indiscretions prior to an election.

Mr. Arrogant on January 16, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Indiscretions? The left considers such activity heroics.

Don L on January 16, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Everyone is focusing on him being an intern to a US Senator. The more important question to me is why was this guy still in the country to begin with? He went through the court system and was given sex offender status. Why was he not deported at that point?

Mark1971 on January 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Wasn’t it Menendez who recently had some rather unsavory articles written about his sexual exploits while on certain trips to Costa Rica or Belize? With our very inquisitive press I’m sure there is an investigation in process. Now we see him with this illegal sex offender working in his office, hmmm. Maybe we could learn more except that it is hard to navigate through all these wagons in a circle, hmmmm, again.

Pardonme on January 16, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Vomitus Maximus
So … lemme get this straight, convicted sex offenders are NOT deported if they are DEMOCRATS and DEMOCRAT pols for whom they work pull strings to make sure that the reprobate is not deported?
Izzat Right?
I hope that the Menendez Family is every bit as victimized as their chosen puke did to someone else’s family member.
What’s good for the goose …
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on January 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Are they right placing the blame on someone named “Washington?” Maybe the blame should go to a structure, such as a “White House” or a “State Department?”

MNHawk on January 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Ban high capacity immigrants.

Gatsu on January 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Maybe a seat for Corey Booker will open up after all…

blammm on January 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

He went through the court system and was given sex offender status. Why was he not deported at that point?

Mark1971 on January 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Exactly.

GWB on January 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

The DOJ does not worry the MSM Politburo one little bit anymore!

KOOLAID2 on January 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

First, one has to wonder what Menendez’ office does for background checks.

Menendez was too busy having sex with hookers to worry about things like that.

forest on January 16, 2013 at 12:42 PM

For the Fascist-Democrats “sex offender” is a resume enhancer, not a liability.

rbj on January 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Thread winner

SubmarineDoc on January 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

How about a simple law: when responsibility within an organization can’t be established, the individual in charge of that organization is presumed to be legally responsible. I suspect this would make it remarkably easy to find out who did what.

PersonFromPorlock on January 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Background checks for this guy is easy. You illegal? Check. You know where I can get some young girls for cheap? Check. Hired.

pat on January 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Crooks . . . every last one of them.

rplat on January 16, 2013 at 1:04 PM

First, one has to wonder what Menendez’ office does for background checks.

Background checks are only for law-abiding citizens, who own or want to own guns, silly!

Resist We Much on January 16, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Doesn’t this piece of cheet has a daughter who works for FOX?

burrata on January 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Senator soon to be Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee! Ugh.

osogrande on January 16, 2013 at 1:16 PM

“Washington” certainly gets around.

PROPOSED: We fire everyone in Washington, DC. They don’t appear to do any work – other than get on TV – and all the decisions are made by “Washington”.

Just think of all the money we’ll save!

GarandFan on January 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Background checks for this guy is easy. You illegal? Check. You know where I can get some young girls for cheap? Check. Hired.

pat on January 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

The liberal bonebrains need to have that 2nd part shoved in their face. Young Mexican girls get the shortest end of the stick.

MelonCollie on January 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Doesn’t this piece of cheet has a daughter who works for FOX?

burrata on January 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Alicia, his daughter, appears on a number of (cable) channels including FOX and CNN. He married a non-Latino lady who is reportedly very bright, personable and kind. Their daughter (according to the web) is pretty quick witted and went to Harvard and works for some think tank or consulting firm called NDN but I probably do not have all that right.

IlikedAUH2O on January 16, 2013 at 11:55 PM